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Government anti-knife crime plan not practical, says RCN

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A government plan to bring young knife-crime offenders into A&E departments to show them the consequences of their actions will create ‘practical problems’, the RCN has warned.

The college has said that home secretary Jacqui Smith’s decision to expose young people to the consequences of their actions on A&E wards may not be feasible.

In its latest briefing ‘Dealing with Knife Injuries: The Nursing Role’ the RCN states that: ‘rather than taking young people to A&E departments, experienced A&E staff could provide invaluable first hand insight into the gruesome effects of knife enabled crime and involve victims and the families of victims should they wish to be involved. This need not necessarily be held at the hospital’.

However, the RCN are encouraging hospitals and A&E department to develop an 'efficient system' for collecting and reporting anonymised data about victims of knife crime which the police can then access.

The briefing paper also recommends that the NMC provide further ‘clear’ guidance for nurses on reporting gun-shot and knife crime similar to that which is already given to doctors by the General Medical Council. It warned: ‘If nurses are seen as less likely to report a knife wound it is possible that victims who do not wish to have their injuries reported would favour nurse led centres over hospitals’.

‘There are first points of contact for knife wound victims that do not always have medics present. These include nurse led walk in centres and custody suites,’ the college states.

‘In these settings it is especially useful for nurses to have clear guidance in the same way that doctors do,’ it said.

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