Hospital facing security clampdown

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.

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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.

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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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