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Readers panel: Will seeking samples from patients who bite or spit at nurses make a bad situation worse?

Draft legislation designed to protect emergency workers from assault includes proposals to take blood and saliva samples from people who have bitten or spat at nurses. Those who refuse could be fined up to £500. The RCN has questioned whether it is ethical or practical to take samples from people who already feel threatened or may be confused or unconscious. Nursing Standard readers have their say. 

Draft legislation designed to protect emergency workers from assault includes proposals to take blood and saliva samples from people who have bitten or spat at nurses. Those who refuse could be fined up to £500. The RCN has questioned whether it is ethical or practical to take samples from people who already feel threatened or may be confused or unconscious. Nursing Standard readers have their say

Pete Hawkins is a staff nurse in an emergency department in Bristol

Many of my emergency department and paramedic colleagues have said they would rather be physically hit than spat on, which is a particularly unpleasant and worrying form of assault. Instances of violence against staff are rising as the service struggles to keep pace with increasing demand and I welcome any measures to tackle this. Some emergency workers, including the police,

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