New security team unveiled at hospital to protect staff from attacks

The new RPI security team is unveiled at West Suffolk Hospital Picture: WEST SUFFOLK HOSPITAL

The new RPI security team is unveiled at West Suffolk Hospital Picture: WEST SUFFOLK HOSPITAL - Credit: Archant

A specially-trained protection team has been unveiled at West Suffolk Hospital after nearly a fifth of staff reported being subjected to physical violence in the past 12 months.

The new 12-strong restrictive physical intervention (RPI) security team will help to keep staff, patients and buildings safe at the Bury St Edmunds hospital.

As well as supporting conflict incidents, the 24/7 team will help to keep the site secure by conducting regular patrols and even escorting members of staff back to their cars if it’s dark or out-of-hours.

A total of 18% of West Suffolk Hospital staff reported experiencing physical violence from patients, their relatives, or members of the public in the past 12-months in the latest NHS Staff Survey for 2017.

The figures for the trust are above the national average of 15%.

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Darren Cooksey, security manager, said there is more to the role than people might imagine.

This is far from a traditional security job,” he said. “The team need to have excellent communication skills, be able to take control of situations with composure and diplomacy, and most importantly demonstrate caring and understanding.

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“It’s a responsible role that’s really about helping people, and deescalating any potential issues before they occur.”

The new team has received specialist conflict management and mediation training, and, among their other duties, will be on hand to help protect staff if those they are caring for behave aggressively or inappropriately.

The team can be called by any staff member at any time for support, which could be on a ward or on a one-to-one basis.

“We don’t tolerate violence and aggression against others,” Mr Cooksey added. “No staff member, patient or visitor should visit our hospital and feel or be threatened by someone else.

“But with many patients this behaviour is out of their control, so they need to be supported and mediated with wherever possible, rather than physically restrained.

“This team has the skills to do that, and we hope will be a resource for staff to turn to so they can spend their valuable time doing what they do best – providing clinical care.”

Craig Black, director of resources, said: “The safety of those on our site is obviously very important to us, and that’s been reflected in our investment in this new, specially trained support team.

“Though violence and security incidents are relatively rare, it’s important we have the right support measures in place to deal with them.

“I’m delighted to see this team up and running, and I’m sure they will provide excellent support to staff, patients and visitors alike.”

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