The current legislation has led to 1,008 prosecutions since 2005, with 594 resulting in a conviction. The act makes it an offence to assault, obstruct or hinder NHS staff responding to an emergency or in hospitals.
But protection will now be extended to cover GP practices and other community healthcare premises.
Minister for public health Shona Robinson said that extending the act would provide additional protection for GPs, nurses and midwives working in the community and send out a strong message that ‘violence against NHS staff is not acceptable and will not go unpunished'.
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