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New code makes assaults on nurses an issue of public interest

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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.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Hope this is applied in Scotland also and that mental health clients are included!!!!

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  • Like this makes any difference at all. Nurses will ALWAYS be the victims of physical and verbal abuse as long as the public KNOW a) we are a soft touch who cannot do anything back, b) they will get away with it, and c) they will still get treated regardless.

    Granted a few cases do go through the courts and that is always a good thing, but they pale in comparison to the amount that don't, or even the amount that don't get reported.

    What is needed is a very quick and severe 'abuse us and you're out' policy. Regardless of condition, regardless of circumstance, abuse a member of staff and you're out on your ear and you won't get treated at all in the hospital.

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