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Sturgeon pledges to ensure Emergency Workers Act covers GPs

30 October 2007

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Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to ensure GPs and community nurses are covered by legislation intended to protect emergency workers from assault.

She made the announcement as she addressed delegates at the Scottish National Party’s annual conference in Aviemore, adding that she hopes the law will be amended before Christmas.

In order to protect GPs, community nurses, and community midwives, the government will need to table amendments to the Emergency Workers Act 2005, which it hopes will gain cross-party support in the Scottish parliament.

The legislation was brought in by the last Holyrood administration in a bid to curb the number of attacks on police and firefighters.

It created an offence of assaulting, hindering or obstructing somebody providing an emergency service, or anyone helping them.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of nine months in jail and a £5,000 fine, but more serious assaults can still be prosecuted under common law.

Doctors and nurses are currently covered by the legislation, but only when they are on duty in an NHS hospital.

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