New security crackdown at hospital

TROUBLEMAKERS will not be tolerated at a Suffolk hospital with the appointment of a new security chief.West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds now has its own local security management specialist whose plans “are much more than zero tolerance”.

TROUBLEMAKERS will not be tolerated at a Suffolk hospital with the appointment of a new security chief.

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds now has its own local security management specialist whose plans “are much more than zero tolerance”.

Jim Pretty hopes to crack down on unruly behaviour on his wards and the way he sees it the rules are simple and he has new powers to tackle offenders.

“We want staff to concentrate on getting people better and anybody getting in their way will not be tolerated,” he said.


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“Security is about getting people on board learning about personal safety and conflict resolution. The staff here are my eyes and ears and I need them on side. It's about looking after my colleagues, the people I work with and the hospital we work for.”

Mr Pretty, who has worked at the hospital for five years as head porter, undertook extensive and intensive training for his new role.

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As well as talking to staff about how to minimise risks to their own personal safety and the protection of their belongings, Mr Pretty has also used his skills to defuse several potentially volatile situations.

“Of course people can become frustrated, I can understand that, but at no time is there any excuse for verbally or physically abusing a member of staff,” he said.

There are a number of options the hospital can follow for dealing with people who either steal or become abusive, including pursuing civil and criminal cases as appropriate.

Mr Pretty has also been trained to compile a prosecution case file to present to the NHS prosecution unit.

As he has had less than a month in post, it is too early to evaluate the difference he has made already. However, nationally, prosecutions have increased by more than a third annually since the Counter Fraud and Security Management Service was launched nationally in January 2003 and hospital bosses are confident Mr Pretty will significantly dent offending at the hospital.

Previous to Mr Pretty taking on the role, hospital security was managed along with fire safety by Terry Owens, who is retiring in February.

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