Violence against NHS staff in Wales will be answered by the combined might of the police and the health service, with the two agencies signing a pledge to work together.
The news will see the bodies agree protocols over case referral, evidence gathering, victim support and the giving of statements. A similar memorandum was agreed with the Crown Prosecution Service in 2007.
Co-operation between the police and the NHS in Wales has previously been criticised. A report by the Assembly’s Audit Committee in July said there had been improvements in the last three years, but progress was limited, adding that the problem was made worse by under-reporting and a disparity between reported cases and prosecutions.
In April the Assembly Government announced new measures, including a 12-month trial of CCTV cameras in four major accident and emergency departments.
Local health service bodies will be required to appoint executive directors and board members with duties to deal with violence. Reports will be regularly provided to board meetings.
The latest figures show 7,343 incidents of violence and aggression in NHS Wales in 2007/08.
Health Minister Edwina Hart said: “It is unacceptable that NHS staff face wilful violence and aggression in going about their day-to-day duties caring for patients.”
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