Monday, March 31, 2008

More devolved health madness

Westminster’s Criminal Justice Bill will create a specific new offence of “creating a nuisance or disturbance on NHS premises”, designed to protect staff from physical or verbal abuse.

But officials at the Ministry of Justice say the Assembly Government rejected extending the new law to Wales as it is working on its own measures to protect staff.

In the meantime, if you’re NHS staff facing physical or verbal abuse in a Welsh hospital, the diplomatic niceties of which “government” is responsible for your protection will probably not be the first thing on your mind.


Hen Ferchetan said...

Ministry of Justice have got themselves in flaps here. First they say they'll talk to the Assembly about it, then they realise that Criminal Justice isn;t devolved but by then they've lost control over the story.

I wouldn;t criticise the Assembly for not embracing the new laws though - they seem to be nothing more than PR. People who physically or verbally abuse NHS staff are already breaking the law, just as they would be if they physically or verbally abused anyone else.

It's not the laws that's the problem, it's the enforcement of it.

O'Neill said...

It's not the laws that's the problem, it's the enforcement of it.
Yes, although this episode also proves/shows once again the confusion which has been thrown up by devolution. Regarding the PR aspect, yes, it probably is but what has the Assembly achieved by (temporarily) opting out- only bad pr, as far as I can see.

Hen Ferchetan said...

Well firstly the Assembly can't opt out, it's not a devolved matter. Secondly I'd rather have my AM's trying to find a practicle answer to the problems faced by NHS staff, not just jumping on a PR friendly bandwagon.

There's no doubt that this episode proves the confusion within the Welsh devolution settlement - but that's a criticism of the new GoW Act not of devolution itself. The current Assembly powers were created in 2006 as a compromise between what the Richards Commission said Wales needed and the Labour Welsh MP's fearful of losing power. It's a mess, and that's why a Scottish style Parliament is needed ASAP - to stop this kind of confusion.

I'm glad to see you agree ;-)