NHS appoints first clinical director to tackle rising knife crime in London

The NHS has appointed a leading surgeon to tackle rising knife crime in London.

Martin Griffiths, consultant trauma surgeon at the Royal London Hospital, becomes the health service’s first clinical director for violence reduction.

Mr Griffiths (pictured) helped set up a service for young patients injured through gang crime, providing support to victims while they are being treated on wards.

The scheme has reduced the number of young people returning to the hospital with further injuries from 45% to less than 1% in six years, NHS England said.

Mr Griffiths’ new role will see him support other London hospitals to create ward-based services and develop new ways to tackle violence.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said this approach could be rolled out across the country in the future.

“Violent crime destroys lives and as a society we need to do far more to reduce violent crime,” he said.

“Martin’s commitment to patients doesn’t end when they leave hospital and his inspiring work at The Royal London, and in classrooms in the capital, has helped reduce the number of patients who recover only to return again with another gun or knife injury.

“Martin’s new role will help us do even more to break the cycle of violence and keep people – particularly young people – safe.

“However, he is just one of many doctors, nurses and other NHS staff trying to stem the bloodshed at source by tackling gang violence across the country – and if this initiative works we would like to see it rolled out in all regions.”

Almost 5,000 people were admitted to hospital after being attacked by a knife or sharp object last year, up by nearly a third since 2012-13, NHS England said.

Teenagers accounted for 1,012 admissions, a rise of 55% from six years ago.

Mr Griffiths said: “Every day I see the wasted opportunities of young people stuck on hospital wards with life-changing injuries.

“We do everything we can for these patients but don’t just want to patch them up and send them back out to be injured again.

“And by working together across the NHS there is more we can do to prevent these attacks happening in the first place.

“I want to build a network that will empower communities across London to challenge the attitudes and behaviours that result in violence.”

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