NHS staff assaults: Scheme launched to increase abuse convictions

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Row of ambulances outside the Royal London Hospital, January 2021Image source, EPA
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NHS and London Ambulance Service workers have been punched, kicked and spat at while at work, the Met Police say

A scheme to increase convictions after NHS staff have been "kicked, spat at and urinated on" has been launched.

The joint initiative follows a three-month pilot across five London boroughs.

Around 75,000 workers experienced violence and aggression from patients, relatives or public, according to the latest NHS staff survey.

The Met said the scheme would help and support those who feel being assaulted is "part of the job".

Ch Insp Luke Mooney said: "Over the past three months alone NHS and London Ambulance Service colleagues have been punched, kicked, spat at, urinated on, strangled, thrown across a room, had faeces thrown on them and been racially abused.

"We are determined to make sure our NHS staff feel confident to report assaults or hate crime. There is no place in society for such abuse," he added.

The pilot took place in Lambeth, Southwark, Bromley, Croydon and Sutton - between October 2020 and January 2021.

During that period, the Met said the number of assault charges had doubled.

Image source, PA Media
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An NHS England staff survey found one in seven workers had experienced physical violence from patients, their relatives or the public

The Met scheme will work with the NHS and the Crown Prosecution Service to increase prosecutions.

Martin Machray, from NHS England & Improvement London, welcomed the rollout.

He said the last year of the pandemic had "shone a light on the selflessness and dedication of NHS staff".

He added: "All our staff should be able to come into work without fear of violence, injury or abuse."

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