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NHS launch Security Awareness Month

Throughout November 2007, the NHS Security Management Service (NHS SMS) will be raising awareness of the importance of a safe and secure NHS and the ways in which this can be achieved.

The NHS SMS is the organisation responsible for managing the security of people, property and other assets in the health service. Security Awareness Month (SAM) is part of its ongoing work to create a pro-security culture in all facets of the NHS. SAM 2006 successfully publicised the role of the Local Security Management Specialist (LSMS), the work and remit of the NHS SMS and the measures in place for reporting incidents of violence and abuse. This year, sectors of the health service are being targeted individually, and the focus in primary care is on reporting - the importance of it and the huge role it has to play in increasing security.

Latest figures show there were nearly 60,000 assaults against NHS staff in England in 2005/06. A national reporting system to record assaults on staff was introduced at the beginning of December 2003 to collect these statistics. It enables the NHS SMS to track recorded cases from report to conclusion, intervene where necessary and, most importantly, give feedback and support to the person assaulted.  

The NHS SMS also set up a Legal Protection Unit to give NHS trusts free advice on violence and abuse cases. In partnership with trusts, the unit also looks at prosecuting offenders privately if the police or Crown Prosecution Service do not take a particular case forward.

SAM is essential to the NHS SMS strategy to protect NHS people and property. LSMSs in each health body work on behalf of the NHS SMS at a local level and, in November, are focusing their efforts on increasing the reporting of security concerns and breaches.

Reporting to the appropriate LSMS - during SAM and beyond - is crucial in tackling unacceptable behaviour in the NHS and ensuring a safe environment in which to work and be treated. For more information on SAM, visit