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SAFETY & SECURITY SYSTEMS Sound the Alarm


As healthcare professionals continue to experience violent attacks at work, the experts at Pinpoint Ltd look at the important role that technology can play in making the care environment safer.


Delivering excellent care in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and other care facilities is a demanding job at the best of times. But nobody in the healthcare sector would call the last 18 months the best of times. Not even close.


On top of the added stress and workload of the pandemic, healthcare workers have continued to experience and endure personal assaults from patients as well as visitors to the facilities. The latest NHS survey finds that over 14% of NHS workers experienced some kind of violence from patients, their relatives or the public in 2020. That’s an astounding 75,000 NHS workers who have experienced violence or aggression. The survey also concludes that only 72% of violent incidents have been reported.


Whilst the overall national figures have gone down very slightly, some NHS trusts have reported large increases. Northumbria NHS Trust , for example, reported a 36% increase in the number of incidents against staff in 2020. Verbal abuse more than doubled from the previous year.


In London, the NHS has set up a joint initiative with the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service to increase prosecutions. This follows a pilot scheme across five boroughs, which highlighted the number of attacks that NHS staff are subjected to at work.


"The latest NHS survey finds that over 14% of NHS workers experienced some kind of violence from patients, their relatives or the public in 2020."


Chief Insp Luke Mooney said: "Over the past three months alone NHS and London Ambulance Service colleagues have been punched, kicked, spat at, urinated on, strangled, thrown across a room, had faeces thrown on them and been racially abused.


“There is no place in society for such abuse," he added.


Under the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018, offenders who attack emergency workers, including NHS staff, can expect to be sentenced to a minimum of 12 months in prison. However, with the right prevention and security measures in place, not every incident need result in a full attack.


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Every employee has the right to feel safe at work. Employers want to take every measure they can to ensure the safety of their staff, as well as being obligated by law. No measures or techniques can fully guarantee that zero assaults will happen. However, case studies show that there are well-proven techniques by which the number of serious incidents can be dramatically reduced.


New technology is oſten touted as the solution to all problems. It isn’t always. However, in this case, it has a very important and effective role to play.


PROACTIVE PROTECTION


While many passive measures like CCTV cameras and access control systems help to decrease the risk of violence in the facility overall, there will always be situations where these are just not enough. A more personalised and proactive protection system is needed.


Many health and care facilities now have a personal attack alarm system installed. Small devices, worn directly on the person, can be used to trigger multiple levels of alarm. These devices come in different forms either as part of the workers’ ID badges or in the shape of a cylinder, oſten attached to the worker’s belt.


Pinpoint Limited is a leading developer and manufacturer of personal attack alarm systems in the UK and its systems are installed globally, in a wide variety of workplace environments. Highly customisable, the user organisation can choose where each type or level of alarm will sound and exactly who gets notified. The set-up can be tailored to each facility and team.


Not every incident will necessarily develop into a major crisis, especially if intervention happens early. In fact, experience has shown that many potential incidents can be readily diffused by the ‘surprise appearance’ of another health worker. The attacker has no idea that the threatened worker has covertly summoned assistance via their body-worn attack alarm.


In more escalated situations, by visibly rather than covertly operating the personal attack alarm device, the patient is alerted that the response team has been summoned which can oſten diffuse the situation immediately.


The simple fact of patients being able to see staff wearing personal attack devices and knowing that health care workers can summon immediate help has been demonstrated to significantly reduce their propensity to ‘kick-off’.


MULTI-PLATFORM INTEGRATION In addition to the body-worn personal alarms, the Pinpoint


www.tomorrowscare.co.uk


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