In 2008/09 there were 54,758 reported physical assaults against NHS staff in England. This is a reduction of 1,235 compared to the previous year. There were 941 criminal sanctions in cases of assault, compared to 992 in 2007/08. These are shocking statistics but I read an interesting article this week about assaults on NHS staff being treated more seriously by the Crown Prosecution Service. The article read:

“The NHS Security Management Service (SMS) has welcomed the revisions to the sixth edition of the Code for Crown Prosecutors, which highlights the public interest in prosecuting all those who attack health workers. The NHS Security Management Service (NHS SMS) – a division of the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) – was set up in 2003 to handle policy and operational guidance relating to the management of security within the NHS in England.

“Issued by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the latest edition of the Code for Crown Prosecutors gives guidance to prosecutors on the general principles to be applied when making decisions about prosecutions. Previously, the Code gave limited specific examples of victims of offences who ‘served the public’ – citing the police, prison officers and nurses. These examples have been broadened to specifically include ‘members of the emergency services’ and ‘a health or social welfare professional,’ among others.

This is really good new for both the NHS as a whole and my company as one of it’s accredited training providers. This is what we all wanted to hear; we want people to take aggressive acts against hard working NHS staff members seriously. Now that they are finally considering taking them more seriously it’s about creating some real momentum and making lots of noise about the issue.

Any attacks on a working member of the NHS is disgusting and the fact that people get away with it is even worse. This is about managers saying enough is enough, it’s also about the police taking a harder line with the offenders.

Furthermore, it’s about security managers in the NHS putting the right training and resources in place to avoid the situations altogether. What I am saying is all of this is about cultural change! Whether this is our course delegates, NHS staff managers and policy and security managers.

The CPS needs to realise this is impacting of what it is like to work in the NHS on a day to day basis. It needs to be a much safer and tidier place. The money is in the NHS (£100bn) but its because of inefficiencies that it isn’t used effectively). Did you know sickness in the NHS is 50% higher than the private sector?

In my opinion if you reduce violence and aggression in the NHS and you will reduce sickness and overall improve productivity. How is that for a cutback? You don’t have to cut staff this summer Mr Brown/Cameron – how about taking a tougher line with assaults on NHS staff. The knock on effect of all of this is the patient is more likely to actually get some treatment if the staff are at work and happy in their work.