ELECTION 21: Call for tougher sentences on people who assault NHS staff
Get the Grampian Group sent to your inbox every week and swipe through an exact replica of the day's newspaper
The Scottish Conservative candidate for Aberdeenshire West, Alexander Burnett, has called on sentences to be doubled for people who assault health board workers after attacks on NHS Grampian staff during Covid were among the highest in Scotland.
A Freedom of Information request by the Scottish Conservatives has shown 4907 assaults were carried out against NHS staff in Scotland during 2020/21, with 961 attacks occurring in NHS Grampian.
The figure is the second highest in Scotland, behind NHS Glasgow which recorded 1063 assaults on its staff.
In 2019/20, NHS Grampian had 2188 attacks on its employees with a further 1977 in 2018/19.
Mr Burnett said assaults against NHS staff are completely unacceptable at any time but are even more appalling at a time when they were protecting people against Covid.
He is backing plans by the Scottish Conservatives that would see a doubling of sentences for those who assault emergency workers, to two years. The party will introduce a Victims Law.
Mr Burnett said: “It is absolutely disgraceful to see so many of our NHS heroes across Grampian being assaulted.
“Assaults against our emergency workers are unacceptable at any time, but these attacks are particularly appalling at a time when they were fighting to protect us from Covid.
“We must guarantee that our key workers will be safe at their work. That is why I am backing plans by the Scottish Conservatives that would double the sentences for those who attack emergency workers to two years.
“As part of our plans to introduce a Victims Law, we will put their needs first once and for all.
“Due to the SNP's effective banning of short sentences, it is unlikely many of these attackers of our NHS heroes will have gone to jail, which is wrong.
“If elected, I will be proud to back legislation that will increase sentencing against those who think it is acceptable to assault our emergency workers."