People who commit acts of violence against public sector workers should be
made to work for the organisations whose staff they assaulted as part of their
punishment, claimed NHS group the AHHRM.
John Adsett, AHHRM secretary and head of project development at Basildon and
Thurrock General Hospitals NHS Trust, said offenders should be made to perform
public service following a tough prison sentence so they can experience the
dangers of the work.
Tony Blair promised last week to introduce harsher sentences for people who
attack nurses, doctors and teachers.
Adsett said, "I welcome greater powers, but I am unsure if extending
sentences will make a great deal of difference. The courts do not use the full
weight of the law when sentencing people who attack public sector workers, so
I’m concerned that just increasing the maximum sentence will not bring about
that much change."
Public-sector union Unison welcomed Blair’s pledge. General secretary Dave
Prentis said, "Last year, Unison carried out a survey of health workers
which showed that nearly half of the nurses and 60 per cent of the ambulance
workers interviewed had been attacked in the previous 12 months.
"That is why Unison welcomes the Government’s commitment to crack down
on those convicted of assaulting people working in the public sector."
During a visit to Newport, Shropshire, Blair said, "There should be a
zero tolerance of abuse and harassment of nurses, paramedics, teachers, doctors
and other public servants. These people work hard for the community. The
community has to stand up for them."
By Paul Nelson