Special police role for medical staff at Liverpool hospital

Nurses
and doctors are being recruited as special constables to police the wards and
grounds of a Liverpool hospital.

The
scheme – the first of its kind in the UK – has been launched to address the
growing number of violent incidents at the hospital. It involves 12 ‘specials’
patrolling the grounds of University Hospital Aintree under the guidance of a
retired police officer.

The
specials will have the same training and powers as regular police officers, but
will operate on a voluntary basis for a minimum of four hours per week.

According
to a report in the Nursing Times, more than 50 members of hospital staff have
expressed an interest in the scheme.

A
spokesperson for the hospital said: “This is a joint partnership between the
hospital and Merseyside police. We will do anything to make sure patients and
staff are safer.”

The
hospital will compensate participating staff with one day off per month from
their NHS jobs if they work for a minimum of eight hours.

Both
the public service union Unison and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have
expressed concerns over the scheme.

The
RCN said questions remained around training, health and safety and the nurses
code of conduct.

By Mike Berry

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