Published: 01/12/2005 Volume 115 No. 5984 Page 18

Mike O'Brien MP, solicitor general

Violence towards staff and others in the health service is an increasing problem and must be taken seriously. The recent David Potter case highlights this.

He put himself, GPs, staff and other patients at his local surgery at risk of serious injury by dousing himself and others in petrol and threatening to set everyone alight.

We referred his resulting community rehabilitation order to the Court of Appeal as an 'unduly lenient sentence'.

I am pleased to say that they took note of the seriousness of this attack, which was not his first, and increased the sentence to put him behind bars for up to two years.

Be reassured that the Crown Prosecution Service and law officers (myself and the attorney general) take these attacks seriously and will support any efforts to deal with the offenders.