Bid to kick violence out of hospital

VIOLENCE and assaults against Ipswich Hospital staff will not be tolerated.That is the message from bosses today as a new safety campaign was due to be launched at the site.

By Jessica Nicholls

VIOLENCE and assaults against Ipswich Hospital staff will not be tolerated – That is the message from bosses today as a new safety campaign was due to be launched at the site.

In the first of its kind ever to be launched in the UK, a protocol is being set out for a fast-track policy bringing those who commit serious assaults against any hospital staff before the courts at the first opportunity.

As reported in the Evening Star earlier this month, a police officer could be posted on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week as extra security on the Heath Road site.

The new measures also mean that in extreme cases, violent and abusive patients could be banned from the hospital and forced to find treatment elsewhere.

More closed circuit television cameras and alarms systems for staff will also be provided along with more personal safety training.

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Contrary to popular opinion, violence and abuse does not just happen in casualty on Friday and Saturday nights and can happen anywhere in the hospital at any time.

The NHS is linking up with the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and magistrates courts sending out a clear message that violent, abusive or threatening behaviour towards Trust staff will not be condoned.

If the offence is less serious, imposing bail conditions will be considered to stop further offences being committed against NHS staff.

Paul Forden, chief executive of The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust said: "Working in the front line of health care is difficult and stressful enough, without the added risk of being wilfully attacked, assaulted or abused by the very people we are trying to help.

"The vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of people the Trust cares for each year, do show great respect and consideration for staff. This campaign is aimed at the small minority of people who knowingly behave badly. There is a clear distinction between these people and those patients whose illness causes them to behave in a way they would not do if they were well.

"We are asking everyone who uses the hospital – a centre of care- to show respect, the same respect we give to patients and to each other."

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