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The Independent Online
A private security firm is to patrol GP surgeries in Birmingham and provide protection for doctors and their staff from violent patients, as part of a new campaign to reduce the incidence of assault, burglaries, and vandalism. It follows mounting concern about the dangers doctors face each day, and the spiralling cost of security measures and building insurance premiums for their inner-city surgeries. So far 10 practices have signed up for the scheme which will cost pounds 3,800 a year. Birmingham Health Authority will meet 70 per cent of the costs of the service provided by the Group 4 Total Security Force.

Melvin Henry, a spokesman for the health authority said: "The cost of measures such as alarms, fencing and lighting at GP practices has doubled in the last two years. This unique project is in response to that. We hope this initiative will reduce the risk to GPs, staff and patients, as well as providing a vital out-of-hours deterrent."