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BMA call for nurses to be protected

The British Medical Association (BMA) is again calling for nurses in GP practices to have the same legal protection from attacks as their counterparts in hospitals.

MPs are currently debating the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill, which includes plans to tackle trouble in NHS hospitals.

But the BMA wants an amendment added to the legislation which will also safeguard workers in surgeries.

It comes as new figures show more than half of doctors have witnessed violence against other staff, including nurses and receptionists.

And one in three doctors themselves have been subjected to physical or verbal assaults in the last year, but most decided not to report it.

Dr Hamish Meldrum (pictured), chairman of the BMA's GPs' Committee, said: "Ministers have repeatedly stated that there should be zero tolerance to violence of any sort in the NHS.

"We heartily agree. The mechanisms must be there to minimise the likelihood of attacks, to support staff who experience them, and to ensure that anyone who commits an act of violence is dealt with appropriately."

But a spokesman for the NHS Security Management Service (SMS) said: "Since its creation in 2003, the NHS SMS has introduced measures to tackle the problem of violence and abuse against NHS professionals.

"These include actions recommended by the BMA: a standard definition of physical assaults and a system for reporting them; encouraging local partnerships between the NHS and police; and developing training for prevention and management of violence."


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Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"I think there is always a risk of unexpected violence (verbal or physical) wherever you work and I don't think some practices take this risk seriously enough. Just because it has never happened to you doesn't mean it won't, and I think it is far better to have policies and procedures in place that will help make people aware of the issue. Also, people that use the service should be aware of the level of behaviour that is acceptable and what is not and what the consequences are if they behave inappropriately" - Name and address supplied

"Of course practice based nurses should be safe in work. I have been one for 11 years. The BMA supported the 2004 GMS contract, which allowed certain GP practices to be remunerated with a substantial 4-figure annual sum if they registered violent patients. There is however no obligation for GP's to use this money on security etc. Surely this extra GP money should be used to protect their staff, not fund their latest Mercedes. C'mon BMA, certainly support us from violent patients but look at the whole picture" - Name and address supplied
"I have always felt safe within my GP surgery, unless a patient had been forgotten and sat in waiting room. They always seem to calm down when gently reassurances and apologies were made" - Name and address supplied