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Attacks on nurses condemned by RCN

Nurses and other NHS healthcare staff are still at risk of physical assault despite a government scheme intended to pay for alarms and training, says the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

It was commenting on latest figures from the NHS Security Management Service (NHS SMS) showing that 54,758 assaults took place in 2008-9, of which 941 resulted in criminal sanctions.

The RCN has condemned the attacks, which the figures show fell by 1,235 compared with the previous year, as "completely unacceptable".

Although welcoming the decline, it says that too many employers are failing to invest in measures to prevent attacks on staff in the first place.

Says Chief Executive Dr Peter Carter: "Employers must take responsibility for these vulnerable workers, not only by making use of the technology available but by having a full package of measures to ensure that staff who work in the community are protected.

"Staff across the NHS deserve to have their safety taken seriously by their employers, the government and the criminal justice system."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

NHS Security Management Service