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Management of Knife Injuries – conference statement

16 November 2010

Hosted by Association of Surgeons of Great Britain & Ireland and sponsored by The Surgical Foundation and Metropolitan Police.

Yesterday (Monday 15th November) saw the first joint surgical/police conference on improving co-operation and effectiveness of harm prevention and crime reduction associated with knives.

A detailed consensus statement will be published and distributed widely within the NHS.

Major areas of agreement were:

Background:

  • Tackling violence needs close co-operation with police and other partners across the public, private and voluntary sectors - There is a need for all public services to work together more cohesively to break down barriers and tackle violence in the community and the role of the extended family requires support.
  • There is a need for long term policy focusing on prevention - the best evidence for prevention lies in targeting children before they become involved in violence as either victims or offenders.
  • Police enforcement activity is crucial, but cannot be a long term solution and is often not a deterrent for this group.

Extending education programmes:

  • Surgeons should get involved in early years peer group education programmes involving schools, youth organisations and local police forces.
  • More needs to be done to link up new local violence campaign/support groups and agencies to work collaboratively with existing organisations and pre-existing infrastructure.

Sharing of data and public health measures:

  • Data sharing between emergency departments and community crime reduction partnerships must become standard practice in every hospital in UK – the ASGBI commits to getting their surgeons to work to set this up in their local hospitals.
  • The ASGBI and the Metropolitan Police are of the opinion that we should go further on the quality and nature of data shared. Fears over patient anonymity are inhibiting the ability to properly target services for some hospitals. Non-anonymised data sharing between public services for violent injuries would support approaches to safeguarding children and adults. This would require ratification by the General Medical Council.
  • The ASGBI would support the restrictions on access to alcohol. The evidence suggests that this would have a dramatic effect on violent behaviour in the young.

Surgical training:

  • The ASGBI and Surgical Foundation endorse the development of regional trauma networks – these must be supported by accredited training programmes and courses that include the management of violent injuries.
  • The ASGBI strongly recommends that all general surgeons involved in the treatment of trauma should attend one of these accredited training programmes.
  • Surgeons should be trained to appreciate forensic requirements of the criminal justice system by preserving evidence.

-Ends-

Notes to Editors 

If you have any queries please contact:

Matthew Worrall       – Email: mworrall@rcseng.ac.uk; T: 020 7869 6047

Elaine Towell           – Email: etowell@rcseng.ac.uk; T: 020 7869 6045

Heather Casey         - Email: hcasey@rcseng.ac.uk; T: 020 7869 6042

Out-of-hours: 07966 486 832