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NHS Response

Nurses, doctors, ambulance crews and other NHS staff in Suffolk who are assaulted or abused can expect enhanced support from the authorities thanks to the signing in August of a three-way agreement designed to help reduce the problem – signed at Suffolk Constabulary HQ in Martlesham Heath, Ipswich.

A Service Level Agreement (SLA) between the NHS Security Management Service (NHS SMS), Suffolk Constabulary and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Suffolk will help these bodies work closely together to ensure that people who attack NHS staff are prosecuted, where appropriate.

If the SLA works in Suffolk, other counties are likely to take the same approach. It builds on the national-level Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the CPS and the NHS which sets out the roles of the Police, CPS and NHS Local Security Management Specialists (LSMSs) in working together to punish and deter attacks on NHS staff. It also dovetails with the MOU in place between NHS SMS and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

Sue Frith, Deputy Head of the NHS Security Management Service said: “The national-level MOUs have already started to make their mark in a positive way. Awareness about prosecuting those who attack people who work in the NHS is growing. This SLA ensures that the welcome commitment at the top of our three organisations is put into practice locally so that we all act together to support NHS staff, who have a right to a safe and secure working environment. Violence and abuse against them is highly disruptive for the delivery of care and treatment to patients.”

Chair of Suffolk Criminal Justice Board and Chief Crown Prosecutor for the CPS in Suffolk, Paula Abrahams, said:
“Not only will the agreement help to improve the protection of NHS staff in Suffolk, it will also help to strengthen the prosecution process by improving the quality of information exchanged between local criminal justice agencies and the NHS Security Management Service. This will help to build the confidence of staff working within the NHS in Suffolk to come forward and support a prosecution if they have been the victim of a crime."

Chief Constable of Suffolk Constabulary, Simon Ash, said:
“We regard assaults and abuse of NHS staff as a serious matter which undermines their ability to care for people who genuinely need their help. We will work closely with our CPS colleagues to ensure where appropriate these people are charged and brought before the courts.” The SLA can be viewed at –


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