Wednesday, 16 September 2009

New agreement to tackle violent NHS patients welcomed by AM

Wrexham's Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths, believes new measures aimed at stopping violent behaviour by patients in the NHS, will be welcomed by local health workers.

The AM was commenting following the signing of an agreement between the Welsh Assembly Government and the police, which allows them to work more closely with the NHS in Wales in investigating allegations of violence towards NHS staff.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Government and police, follows an agreement with the Crown Prosecution Service back in March 2007, which ensured the effective prosecution of people making violent attacks on NHS staff.

The aim of the MoU is to promote the prosecution of violent offenders, which will help act as a deterrent to others.

The new agreement includes provision of:

* new protocols on the investigation of incidents;
* the referral of cases to the police;
* evidence gathering and the provision of statements;
* post incident reviews; and
* support for victims when their case has progressed to court.

In addition, the imminent re-organisation of the NHS in Wales, each new Health Organisations will be required to appoint named individuals at both Executive Director and non-officer levels, whose responsibility it will be to deal with the problem of violence within their own organisations. Violence & Aggression reports will also be presented regularly to Board meetings.

Latest figures show in the NHS in Wales, there were 7,343 incidents of violence and aggression in in 2007/08.

Welcoming the agreement, Lesley Griffiths AM said:

"This agreement is good news for all NHS staff. In July, I visited the A&E Department at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital and staff told me about the problems they have to endure with violent patients. I was told that they face incidents most weekends and this means the hospital has to employ security staff on patrol to protect NHS staff.

"Violent behaviour towards health staff is appalling and totally unnacceptable and I am pleased the Welsh Assembly Government and the police have reached this agreement so the problem can be tackled."



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