Chancellor announces social care funding boost

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In a speech to the Royal College of Nursing, he is expected to say: "NHS staff dedicate their lives to protecting and caring for us in our times of greatest need and for any one of them to be subject to aggression or violence is completely unacceptable".

There is now no centralised system to record assaults on NHS staff and hospitals are left to collect their own data.

A new partnership between the NHS, police and Crown Prosecution Service will lead to offenders being prosecuted quickly under a zero-tolerance approach, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

A £2 billion increase in mental health funding announced in yesterday's Budget has been welcomed by the chief executive of the NHS trust which runs mental health services in Peterborough. What we needed was support to get the system back on its feet but what we have is yet another sticking plaster.

Trusts will be expected to ensure every incident is investigated in full and lessons learned to prevent future incidents, with national reporting of such data.

Growing numbers of patients with mental health problems and dementia - which causes outbursts of aggression - are also thought to be behind the increase.

The new strategy means watchdogs will inspect how NHS trusts are following up violent incidents reported by staff, and attempting to protect staff.

The DHSC said training in de-escalation and conflict resolution will be assessed to ensure it is up to date and effective, with improvements made where necessary.

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"We already knew that he had committed to five more years of below-trend growth in the NHS's funding".

"It is a sad fact that nearly none of the perpetrators receive custodial sentences when they are prosecuted for assaulting our staff", the association's managing director Martin Flaherty said.

Nurses and other employees who work in high-risk areas - including paramedics, frontline A&E employees and mental health nurses - will be trained in specialist techniques to diffuse hostile situations.

'Victims of assault at work have their lives turned upside down and it affects their wellbeing, their families and their livelihood and there's always more we can do to support them'.

Sara Gorton, head of health at the union Unison, said: "No-one should be abused, threatened or attacked at work - especially when all they're trying to do is help people".

A new law came into force last month that doubled the maximum prison sentence for members of the public who assault NHS staff or emergency service workers from six months to a year, although many believe that still isn't long enough.

Dr Taj Hassan, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, welcomed the initiative, saying: "Patients - and their families - coming into the Emergency Departments are often experiencing the worst day of their lives; anxious, confused and often frustrated".

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