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Health bosses told they should work better with police
7:00am Monday 11th February 2013 in News
Police and hospitals in Bradford are failing to join forces to tackle violent crime, a highly-critical report has found.
Both Bradford Teaching Hospitals and Airedale Hospital have been criticised for not complying with government instructions to share key data effectively.
In 2010, accident and emergency (A&E) departments were ordered to act after a trial in Cardiff found that sharing information could cut violent crime by up to 40 per cent.
They are expected to pass on to police and local councils non-confidential information about victims who came to the hospitals.
The data should include the time and place of assaults, types of weapon used and types of attack.
Such information can then be used to paint a picture of where violence takes place in an area, so police and local councils can send in resources to tackle it.
But the report for the Department of Health (DoH) gave Bradford Teaching Hospital NHS Trust a mark of just three on a descending scale of one to five.
The score means that, while the trust is passing on data, it had no information about whether it was being used effectively.
Airedale NHS Trust performed even worse, scoring four. The report said data was shared only with the local primary care trust (PCT) – not with police.
The two hospitals were among two-thirds across England which are failing to pass on data effectively, although most have put in data-sharing technology.
Only around 25 per cent of assaults that need medical attention are reported to police across the country, according to the report. Anna Soubry, the health minister, called on hospitals to buck up their performance, insisting there are no “logistical or legal” barriers to achieving that.
She said: "We can cut the number of lives blighted by violent crime if the NHS works with the police as well as it can. Many victims of assault go to the A&E department for treatment, but do not report the incident to the police.”
But Chris Miles, Airedale’s director of operations, blamed inadequate technology, saying: “It wasn’t that we didn’t want to help. However, our old patient administration system did not have the ability to record the information.
“We have recently installed a new patient administration system and would expect to be able to do this in future.”
Bradford Teaching Hospitals said it was unable to comment yesterday on the report’s findings.
Hospitals’ failure to act was criticised by Susannah Hancock, assistant chief executive of the charity Victim Support. She said: “The NHS is the second most likely public service, after the police, to come into contact with victims of violent crime.”