Call for consistent response to violent incidents in NHS

National
guidelines are needed to ensure a consistent police response to violent
incidents against NHS staff.

So
says the National Association for Healthcare Security (NAHS), which is to
contact the Association of Chief Police Officers calling for guidelines to
ensure a consistent standard of response nationwide.

Peter
Finch, secretary of the NAHS, said some police forces currently respond
immediately, while others take up to five hours to attend following 999 calls.
He attributes part of the problem to police forces relying too heavily on
hospital security staff.

"There
needs to be a co-ordinated, consistent minimum standard of response,"
Finch said.

"There
is also the problem of having two burly policemen arrive with someone bleeding
in handcuffs and then handing them over to a pair of 5ft tall nurses," he
added.

David
High, director of HR and corporate development at Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust,
which has already organised a local agreement on response times, was in favour
of national minimum response standards.

"We
have a local agreement signed between our chief executive and the borough
police commander. I would support a similar approach on a national basis,"
he said.

High
added that the issue of violence against NHS staff is still an ongoing problem,
despite the zero tolerance approach adopted across the NHS.

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