Hospital hires security firm amid increasing abuse to staff
- Credit: Denise Bradley
Increasing violence and aggression towards staff at James Paget Hospital in Gorleston has forced it to employ additional security.
A report published ahead of a Friday meeting of the hospital’s board of directors said: “The board has discussed this important issue on a number of occasions and repeated our zero tolerance policy in relation to any abuse towards our staff.
“We have now engaged a security company to provide an additional presence overnight in our A&E waiting area and the main entrance.
“The move has been made to provide reassurance to our hard-working staff, following several incidents of abuse from members of the public over the last few weeks.”
Responding to a question on whether the hospital would consider prosecution against perpetrators, deputy chief executive Jonathan Barber told the meeting: “We had a very supportive letter from the chief constable of Norfolk Constabulary, saying that they will take any complaints of staff abuse and threatening behaviour very seriously.
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"So I think public sector organisations are standing shoulder to shoulder to try and stamp out some of the inappropriate behaviour we have experienced.”
Joanne Segasby, the hospital’s chief operating officer, said a newly-formed panel would be looking at the increase in abuse and, depending on the type of incident, determining what action needs to be taken.
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Referring to abuse from patients to staff, Ms Segasby said: “Some of these patients just need additional support, because it could be a mental health issue, or some of our dementia patients.
"But for those patients that have got capability and are repeatedly causing problems for our staff, we do take further actions through the security team and contact the police.”
Board chair Anna Davidson agreed, saying: “We do encourage all of our staff to speak out when these things occur and we would encourage it every single day that they do that.
“It is not expected that people receive any kind of abuse from people with [the] competence not to do so, so it's really important that staff don’t just accept it as being part and parcel of the job - it shouldn’t be like that and we will support them throughout the process of addressing that.”