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Hospital facing security clampdown

PUBLISHED: 19:52 06 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:04 03 March 2010

IPSWICH Hospital is facing a swingeing security clampdown after a series of violent attacks on its medical staff.

For the first time in its history, the Heath Road site will be patrolled 24-hours a day, seven days a week by a private security firm.

IPSWICH Hospital is facing a swingeing security clampdown after a series of violent attacks on medical staff.

For the first time, the Heath Road site will be patrolled 24 hours a day, seven days a week by a private security firm.

One guard used to patrol from 8pm to 6am. Now, after a spate of daytime attacks, two guards are on duty round the clock.

Security chiefs are also considering training their own medical restraint team – a select group of Home Office-trained staff to restrain unruly patients.

Violent patients will be "red carded" and excluded from health care at the hospital.

From now on repeatedly aggressive patients will be forced to seek medical help elsewhere.

Bail conditions of three people recently arrested in the hospital say they may only return to the hospital for emergency treatment.

The get-tough measures come in the wake of increased attacks on medical staff at the 46-acre hospital, which employs 3,500 and can see more than 7,000 people pass through its doors daily.

On May 17 an A&E staff nurse was kicked and punched in the chest when she tried to treat a man in his early thirties.

Police were summoned to the attack just hours after being called out when a teenager became abusive to nurses as he waited for treatment. Four days later a 22-year-old woman pummelled a doctor in the same department. She had previously tried to strangle herself with surgical gloves as medical staff tried to X-ray her.

The woman, Tracey Jackson, of Blenheim Road, was remanded in custody after admitting causing assault and actual bodily harm.

In court, Kate Stephenson, prosecuting described a series of blows on the doctor in a "completely unprovoked attack".

On May 28 police arrested a man when they saw him burying a package, which later turned out to be a quantity of cannabis, in the South ward car park.

Inspector Andy Solomon said: "The message we want to get across is that any unlawful activity at the hospital will be treated very seriously."

Head of hospital security Caroline Stewart said: "Incidents in the last fortnight mean we are re-launching the hospital's zero tolerance scheme. It will include a series of new initiatives including fitting the maternity ward with electronic doors."

Hospital spokeswoman Jan Rowsell said: "Security is taken very seriously by the hospital.

"We have 24-hour CCTV cameras which are monitored all the time. We review our security all the time. The increase in the security patrol is part of this review."

There is a permanent mobile police station in the hospital grounds.

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