In recent years, the NHS has become increasingly strained, despite its ever-growing budget. A&E waiting times continue to soar, as do the number of beds unavailable to patients.
Additionally, the fact that low levels of staff in hospitals mean that performance is likely to be affected.
The NHS is one of the biggest UK employers – the latest annual survey results conducted by the NHS in October revealed there were 1,226,573 staff in all sectors across England.
With so many people relying on the service 24 hours a day, it’s important health care organisations can deal with the many threats to public sector security – both to patients and employees.
Consider the following questions when you are implementing security in your hospital, GP clinic or other healthcare facility.
Risk assessments are vital for spotting signs of potential hazards which could injure patients and staff, cause ill health, or leave people in a vulnerable position. By holding regular risk assessments, you will be able to identify these problems before they cause major disruption to your operations.
Take more time to assess areas which are frequently used, have newly installed equipment, or are prone to having slippery or wet surfaces that could make people fall.
The Health and Safety Executive has guidance on risk assessments with some examples for different situations.
Nearly 16 percent of healthcare staff have been subjected to violence, aggression and/or verbal abuse during their shift, according to a poll conducted by Unison.
The most effective way to check that your staff are protected from violent behaviour from patients or visitors is to install CCTV and alarm systems in public areas such as entrances, reception areas, waiting areas, outside staff rooms, canteens, lounges and corridors.
Another way in which these situations can be avoided is by hiring security guards, who can diffuse situations and respond quickly to incidents.
Implementing reporting systems will also help staff remember to record everything that happens, so that evidence can be provided in court.
Keeping medicines and hazardous substances locked away in cupboards and other secure locations within the building will deter criminals from stealing valuable items. Ensuring doors and cupboards are PIN secured or padlocked when not in use and conducting regular stock takes will ensure they do not end up in the wrong hands.
If equipment which is outdated or in need of repair is starting to cause problems, make sure these are replaced or fixed as soon as possible. The longer you leave machinery, computers or any other kinds of devices used in the workplace, the more likely it will be that an accident or malfunction will occur.
Make sure there are consistent service checks and ‘out of order’ or warning signs are used to alert staff and patients not to use them.
Does your hospital or surgery have ID scanners or password protected doors for staff? Think about how easy it is for patients to access important documents or areas in which they are not allowed access and update passwords regularly.
As mental well being is something which can become compromised in stressful situations, it’s important to consider offering help for staff who may feel overworked or unable to cope with the challenging demands they can face every day. Doing so will help ensure no one does anything which could endanger other staff or patients.
A report conducted by the Health and Safety Executive found that nearly 40% of all work-related illness was caused by mental illness. By offering reassurance to staff that they can rest and take time away from work when things get too much, you will be helping to beat the stigma surrounding mental health as being a weakness.
Churchill Security is a leading UK security company with over 25 years’ healthcare security expertise. We provide a comprehensive range of security services across the UK.