Police presence stepped up at hospital
A police presence is being stepped up at a hospital as part of a new initiative to protect staff and patients.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is working in partnership with Northumbria Police to provide greater reassurance to patients, visitors and staff at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington by having an officer on site in the evenings and overnight.
The officer works alongside the trust’s security team to provide a visible deterrent for aggressive behaviour, signpost people to support services if required and assist should incidents occur.
The pilot initiative is part of the trust’s campaign to raise awareness among the public that ‘it’s not okay’ to raise their voice, to physically threaten or to swear and intimidate NHS workers. It comes as emergency services across the region report an increase in the number of attacks on staff.
Rachel Heeley, matron for emergency care at The Northumbria hospital, said: “This is an excellent example of joint working between our trust and the police.
“Like all hospitals treating patients in emergency situations, we can have people who display challenging or abusive behaviour which is not only distressing for the staff involved but detracts from our primary aim of providing, what can be, life-saving care.
“Having the police on site during our peak times act as a visible, accessible and reassuring presence to our patients, visitors and staff and means they are on-hand to diffuse any difficult situations at an early opportunity.”
Chief Inspector Ron Charlton, of Northumbria Police, said: “It is completely unacceptable for emergency service workers to be assaulted, threatened or abused in any way as they go about their duties.
"Hospital staff come to work each day to help people and being subjected to abuse is simply unacceptable.
“Putting our officers into hospitals acts as a deterrent and also means we are on-hand to act quickly and appropriately should any incidents arise.”
He added: “This pilot has already seen our officers diffuse potentially difficult situations. There’s strength in working together and we look forward to continuing our partnership.”
As part of the launch of the initiative, Northumbria Healthcare is backing calls for tougher action against those who attack emergency workers.