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Readers panel: Should the law be changed to make it a specific criminal offence to attack NHS staff?

Radio presenter Nick Ferrari has set up a petition calling for a change in the law to give NHS staff similar legal protection to that offered by the Police Act 1996, which makes it a specific offence to attack a police officer conducting their duties. Nursing Standard readers’ panellists have their say. 
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Radio presenter Nick Ferrari has set up a petition calling for a change in the law to give NHS staff similar legal protection to that offered by the Police Act 1996, which makes it a specific offence to attack a police officer conducting their duties. Nursing Standard panellists have their say

Beverley Ramdeen is a senior lecturer in adult nursing in Hertfordshire

Between April 2015 and March 2016, there were 70,555 attacks on NHS staff, compared with 67,864 the previous year. The rise in this number highlights the need for a change in the law to give NHS staff the same protections as police officers. Having a law in place could act as a deterrent as well as an acknowledgement that this behaviour will not be tolerated.

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