Page last updated at 12:03 GMT, Monday, 30 March 2009 13:03 UK

NHS 'failing to share crime data'

A&E nurse
The hospitals information was compiled from Freedom of Information requests

New figures suggest 80% of NHS hospitals in England are failing to collect and share with police data which could help reduce violent crime.

Only 25 of the 123 trusts who responded to the Liberal Democrat survey said they were collecting details of the time and location of violent incidents.

The practice was pioneered by A&E staff in Cardiff, where it has helped cut violence-related attendances by 40%.

The Department of Health said it did not recognise the survey's figures.

The "Cardiff Model" collects data from A&E wards about the precise locations and times of violent incidents and shares them anonymously with the police.

Key hospitals

The Liberal Democrats obtained its figures in replies to Freedom of Information requests.

The figures suggested only 10 out of 58 trusts in parts of England covered by the government's Tackling Knives Action Programme were following the Cardiff Model.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, Chris Huhne, said it was an example of government departments failing to work together.

He said: "If the police are to catch more knife carriers, they need to intensively patrol knife crime hot-spots. They are best identified from anonymous hospital data, which is free from the meddling hand of Whitehall.

"Heads at the Department of Health and the Home Office must be knocked together to ensure that the Cardiff Model is used in every emergency ward in the country."

A Department of Health spokeswoman said it wanted the opportunity to check the figures in the survey.

She said 17 key hospitals, which encounter high incidence of knife crime, had to fill out a detailed questionnaire for the department.

"We have had 14 responses so far. Of the 14, 10 are presently sharing information and three are likely to commence very soon. There is one hospital where there are issues which will need to be addressed.

"This picture is an encouraging one in that many of the key hospitals which six months ago were not sharing data, now are.

"There are significant success stories - across all forms of violent crime - for example, the two key hospitals in Leeds have used data to provide targeted help to victims of domestic violence."

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