Nurse quits job after attack

A NURSE who quit her job after being kicked by a patient last night welcomed the sentence imposed on her attacker - saying assaults on hospital staff should not be tolerated.

A NURSE who quit her job after being kicked by a patient last night welcomed the sentence imposed on her attacker - saying assaults on hospital staff should not be tolerated.

Mother-of-two Tracey Rice, 28, who worked as a bank nurse at Colchester General Hospital for 12 years, told of the trauma and injuries suffered in the incident - which temporarily left her unable to pick up her young child.

She has bravely spoken out to send out the message that assaults on hospital staff will not be tolerated.

Mrs Rice, who is from the Tendring area, said: “The attack left me winded and bruised. The woman hit me on the shoulder, knocking me to the ground, and then kicked me in the knee.


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“I was unable to pick up my four-year-old daughter as a result of the shoulder injury.”

The wife of a paramedic, Mrs Rice revealed the attack was “the straw that broke the camel's back”.

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“I hope this case will make people think twice before they abuse, assault or are aggressive to members of staff in hospitals,” she said.

Mrs Rice, who now works in a card shop, added: “I was fed up with dealing with drunk and abusive people and now I would much rather work here.”

Her comments were made after her attacker, a drunken student, received a 12-month community order including 80 hours' unpaid work and made to pay £300 court costs on November 2. She was also ordered to pay Mrs Rice £500 compensation.

On June 24 - a busy Saturday night - Christine Wood, of Chitts Hill, Lexden, Colchester, kicked and pushed Mrs Rice while she was taking her pulse.

She fell awkwardly and suffered bruising. Wood admitted the assault at Colchester Magistrates' Court.

Her conviction has been welcomed by Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Colchester General Hospital and Essex County Hospital.

Peter Symkiss, trust security manager, said: “This is not the first time we have successfully prosecuted a member of the public who has acted aggressively towards our staff.”

Denise Hagel, the trust's director of nursing, said: “We have a strict 'zero tolerance' policy of verbal and physical abuse towards our staff. People should not expect to be able to abuse our staff and get away with it.”

Earlier this month, the EADT revealed there were 43 assaults against workers at Colchester General Hospital and Essex County Hospital in the past year. This was a slight reduction on the previous year, although there had been an alarming rise in incidents more recently.

Figures revealed by the NHS Security Management Service also revealed 64 people were prosecuted last year for attacking NHS staff in East Anglia - nine more than 2004/05.

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