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Crackdown on hospital violence

The police and health service have vowed to work closer together on investigations into allegations of violence against NHS staff in Wales.

Health Minister Edwina Hart has agreed a policy statement that includes protocols on referring cases to the police, gathering evidence and giving statements, and support for victims when their case gets to court.

The latest figures show 7,343 cases of violence and aggression against NHS staff in Wales in 2007/08.

Welsh Assembly Members have criticised a ‘lack of urgency’ in dealing with violence, and a report by the Assembly’s Audit Committee in July said there had been improvements in the last three years, but progress was limited.

It found the problem has been made worse by staff under-reporting aggression and a lack of successful prosecutions compared to the number of reported incidents.

In April the Assembly government announced new measures, including a year-long trial of CCTV cameras in four A&E departments.

Ms Hart said: ‘It is unacceptable that NHS staff face wilful violence and aggression in going about their day-to-day duties caring for patients.’