HC Deb 01 December 1970 vol 807 c1059
12. Mr. Cronin

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what further action he is taking to reduce the incidence of assaults by violent patients on the nursing staff looking after them.

Sir K. Joseph

Adequate staffing, good conditions and an active therapeutic regime in hospitals is the best safeguard. The extra money for psychiatric services will help hospitals to make faster progress towards these objectives. My Department is co-operating with the National Association of Mental Health and professional bodies in preparing advice for nurses who look after difficult and disturbed patients.

Mr. Cronin

Could the right hon. Gentleman ensure that more effective measures are taken to segregate and control violent patients, and will he impress upon psychiatrists that although their first duty is to their patients, they have an important second duty; namely, to protect nursing and other staff from these hazards?

Sir K. Joseph

Regional hospital boards are being helped by the extra money to reduce the overcrowding which makes the handling of patients of this sort particularly difficult. I agree with the point made by the hon. Gentleman in the second part of his supplementary question.