NHS Protect has signed an agreement with prosecutors and police to clamp down on violent behaviour towards NHS staff.
In 2009/10, more than 56,000 physical assaults were reported against NHS staff in England.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have joined forces with NHS security bosses to develop a ‘Joint Working Agreement’.
It aims to promote solutions at a local level to target local issues with a view to bring down the level of anti-social behaviour in the NHS.
The three parties agree there is “strong public interest” in prosecuting those who assault NHS staff or commit offences that disrupt NHS services.
Individual police services, CPS areas and NHS bodies will be encouraged to seek the “strongest possible action” against offenders.
Chief Constable Brian Moore, ACPO Lead for Violence and Public Protection, admitted there are “weaknesses” in the current system, but he claimed the three-way partnership will allow the parties to work “more effectively”.
“NHS staff do a very difficult job in challenging circumstances,” said Pam Bowen, Senior Policy Advisor at CPS.
“If they are subjected to abuse or violence during the course of their work they deserve to know that offenders will be prosecuted wherever possible.
“This agreement should reassure healthcare workers across England that such abuse will not be tolerated and that their own welfare is just as important as that of the patients they treat.”