This site is intended for health professionals only

Health abuse convictions near 600

Nearly 600 people have been convicted in Scotland under legislation aimed at protecting health workers, it has emerged.

The data was released as MSPs backed moves to extend the Emergency Workers Act, so that it will now also cover GPs, other doctors, nurses or midwives working in the community.

Staff, such as ambulance workers responding to an emergency and those working in hospital, are already covered by the Act.

Public health minister Shona Robison told Holyrood's Justice Committee that 1,256 charges have been laid since the Emergency Workers Act came into force in May 2005 - with 1,008 of these leading to a prosecution.

She said 594 of these have resulted in convictions, with 218 ongoing, meaning a successful conviction rate of 75%, which she said was "very, very high indeed".

Ms Robison said the specialist nature which doctors, nurses and midwives possess sets them apart from other health workers.

"Sadly there is a mindless minority who think it is acceptable to abuse and attack these health workers ignoring the vital service they provide and the terrible impact this kind of behaviour can have on staff morale," she said.

Scottish government

Copyright © PA Business 2008