Changes made to a prosecutors’ code have been hailed as a sign that there is public interest in prosecuting people who assault health workers.
The NHS Security Management Service said it welcomed the revisions to the sixth edition of the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
Issued by the Crown Prosecution Service, the new edition of the code outlines principles that should be applied when deciding about prosecutions.
In previous editions, the code gave few examples of people who “served the public” who were victims of attacks.
The new version of the code makes the meaning of public servant more explicit, and now includes “members of the emergency services” and “a health or social welfare professional”.
A total of 54,758 physical assaults against NHS workers were reported in England in 2008-09, 1,235 fewer than in the previous year. Criminal sanctions were brought in 941 cases of assault, compared with 992 in 2007-08.