Nurse: attacks must not be tolerated

A MENTAL health worker from Ipswich who was assaulted by a patient today issued a stark warning to would-be offenders after helping to bring his attacker to justice.

A MENTAL health worker from Ipswich who was assaulted by a patient today issued a stark warning to would-be offenders after helping to bring his attacker to justice.

Julian Wong was working at St Clement's Hospital in Ipswich when he was punched several times in the head by Jonathan Parrish.

But the 56-year-old stood strong through a prosecution in the aftermath of the assault - and saw his attacker committed indefinitely to a secure mental health hospital.

Mr Wong, of Wardley Close, Ipswich, said: “I wanted to stand up and say enough is enough.

“As nurses we should be able to care for our patients and not fear that every time we set foot on the ward that we may go home with a black eye, a broken jaw or stitches in our head.

“Hopefully this sentence will act as a deterrent to other patients.”

Most Read

Parrish, 21, a patient with Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust, was compulsorily committed to a hospital in Norfolk for treatment until doctors consider him fit for release.

He was punished at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm.

Mr Wong, a former policeman, was working a night shift at St Clement's on May 17 when Parrish attacked him from behind, leaving him with severe bruising.

When asked by a member of staff why he assaulted Mr Wong, Parrish replied: “Because I felt like it.”

Mr Wong said he was keen to pursue a private prosecution - with the help of Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust and The NHS Security Management Service - because he wanted to send a strong message to others.

He said: “This patient was well aware of his actions and the consequences for me but he thought he would get away with it.”

Mark Halladay, chief executive of the Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust, said: “We felt that Julian personally deserved to know that there should be no tolerance of behaviour like this just because we are a mental health trust.”

Should hospital workers receive more protection against attacks? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

The NHS Security Management Service (NHS SMS) was set up in 2003 to handle security within the NHS.

In April 2004, the NHS SMS developed a national syllabus for conflict resolution training aimed at all 750,000 frontline NHS staff.

Figures show that more than 250,000 staff have been trained so far.

There were 55,709 reported physical assaults against NHS staff in England during 2007/8 - a reduction of 4,586 over the two previous years.

Prosecutions of people assaulting NHS staff has risen, with 869 criminal sanctions imposed in 2006/7.