Hospital security beefed up to stop the violence

Hospitals in Bristol are issuing security staff with handcuffs and slash
resistant uniforms as part of a major safety review to prevent violence against
staff.

As well as the additional equipment, security staff are also undergoing a
training programme to help them deal with the threat of aggression and to learn
conflict-management techniques.

The training includes regular updates every three months and was introduced
after 66 violent episodes at the city’s hospitals earlier this year.

Anne Couts, HR director at United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust, said the
move was part of a £200,000 programme to improve safety and reassure hospital
staff.

"Staff have raised a lot of concerns about security and we hope these
measures will deal with that," she explained.

The trust, which runs nine hospitals, has also opened a police liaison unit,
upgraded CCTV, improved lighting and issued staff with personal alarms.

Couts dismissed claims that the new uniforms, which include hard hats and
body armour, would create a daunting atmosphere in hospitals and said other
trusts suffering violence should introduce similar schemes.

"The handcuffs are just a small part of the package and we’ve talked to
staff and the unions about why we’re doing this. We’ve had very good feedback
about this response to violence.

"Patients and staff at the hospitals will see that security has visibly
improved. Security in the NHS has traditionally been low key but I’m sure other
trusts will follow us," she said.

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