Local police and health services are joining
forces this festive season to help keep members of the public safe and protect
those working on the NHS front-line from abuse.
South Yorkshire Police and The Rotherham NHS
Foundation Trust, which runs the Urgent and Emergency Care Centre at Rotherham
Hospital, are increasing the number of security and police teams working at key
dates over the holiday period to keep staff and members of the public safe.
As the number of people celebrating at parties
and on nights out increases, so do the number of assaults on emergency workers.
Thousands of NHS staff members are assaulted every year, and the levels of
violence experienced in Rotherham have risen over recent months.
Louise Barnett, Chief Executive at The
Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Nobody should have to face abuse of any
kind when they are at work, especially when their job is to protect and care
for people. Everyone should be able to enjoy themselves at this time of year,
so we’re urging people to drink responsibly and only use emergency services
when you have to.
“This Christmas and New Year, working closely
with South Yorkshire Police, we are reaffirming our commitment to keeping our
workforce, patients and visitors safe.”
Paul Ferguson, Neighbourhoods Chief Inspector,
said: “Throughout the year, our hospital and the police work closely together
to reduce risks to the public and demands from in and around the hospital. At
Christmas time, the need to do so is particularly acute when the weather
worsens and alcohol intake goes up. Together, we look forward to a safe and
enjoyable festive period.”
This partnership working comes shortly after the
introduction of the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act, which came
into effect on 13 November 2018 and has doubled the maximum custodial sentence
from six months to one year for anyone who assaults emergency workers.