Fringe Box



Royal Surrey County Hospital Does Share A&E Data With Police

Published on: 1 Feb, 2013
Updated on: 5 Feb, 2013
The Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford.

The Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford.

The Royal Surrey County Hospital (RSCH) is one of only 33% of hospitals effectively fulfilling a government pledge to make hospitals share violent crime data with police, according to a spokesperson.

A recent audit, reported by the BBC, has shown that despite the government undertaking  two out of every three hospitals in England are not fully complying and a fifth not at all. All accident and emergency (A&E) departments are meant to share information about where knife or gun attacks are happening with the police and their local council.

The charity Victim Support said it was very disappointing that the plan was not being fully implemented. The government has written to hospitals and chief constables for an explanation after the Department of Health audit.

Susannah Hancock, Victim Support’s assistant chief executive, said: “The NHS is the second most likely public service after the police to come into contact with victims of violent crime, many of whom will not have reported such incidents to the police at all. ”

Data sharing was part of the government’s programme for government in 2010. The coalition promised in its programme for government to make hospitals share non-confidential information with the police so crime hotspots could be identified.

But it is thought that police are aware of fewer than a third of assaults that lead to the victim being treated in hospital.

I would want to say to hospitals and local authorities this is straightforward, ethical information-sharing that makes for safer communities… Prof Jonathan Shepherd Cardiff University

The scheme was tested in Cardiff.   Collated information about the type and location of attacks, with all confidential patient information removed, was regularly shared. As a result, the city saw a 35% fall in the numbers of assault victims turning up at A&E for treatment between 2000 and 2005.

The Department of Health said Health Minister Anna Soubry had written this week to all hospital chief executives and chief constables in England to remind them of the government’s commitment on sharing information.

The letter says there are no legal reasons for not sharing anonymous information, and asks for any “good reasons why it cannot be done” in areas which have failed to put systems in place.

But despite shortcomings in the majority of English hospitals the scheme is reported to be working in Guildford.

We have robust processes in place… RSCH Spokesperson

A spokesperson for the Royal Surrey County Hospital said: “We have robust processes in place at the Royal Surrey and are very active in the Assault Data Share.

When a patient books into A&E the details of the incident will be logged. With more serious incidences (e.g. gun or knife attacks as mentioned in the BBC report) we report these to the police straight away.

“With smaller incidents, these are recorded and the data is shared at quarterly meetings held with the police, NHS Surrey, the local council and A&E including information about where the incident occurred geographically.”

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