Sunday 14 April 2024
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Nottingham A&E staff face threat of violence and aggression ‘on a daily basis’

One incident was captured during filming for Channel 4’s 24 Hours in A&E in Nottingham.

Security Guard Leston Sugar Scafe said:

‘I’ve been threatened several times…to get stabbed by Samurai sword to my throat, you know, some of them leave the hospital, when we escort them to Derby Road they will say they will come back and they will stab you, they will slit my throat.’

‘Security has to be there because you have the ED. Staff will call for security and by the time we rush down, they’ve been very abusive to members of staff. They want to be seen straight away. As soon as they reach the hospital, they want to be seen now.’

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A further 220 body-worn cameras were introduced in February 2024 across Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) for clinical staff to use, in order to help protect staff and patients from an increase in threatening and violent behaviour.

The small cameras will be worn by clinical staff across the Trust to help deter hospital visitors from being aggressive, following a successful three-month trial in the Emergency Department. The cameras will be worn in clear view of the public and will only be switched on when an individual is being violent or abusive, and after they have been told they will be recorded.

The body-worn cameras will also help to identify and prosecute any offenders, following a sharp rise in incidents of violence and aggression against NUH staff since the start of the pandemic.

The additional cameras were rolled out across NUH in December 2023 as part of the Trust’s commitment to the health, safety and welfare of its employees, patients and visitors.

Medical Director, Dr Keith Girling said: “The safety and wellbeing of our staff and patients is our ultimate priority. Violent and aggressive behaviour, be that against our staff or other patients or visitors, has absolutely no place in our hospitals and will not be tolerated.

“When our staff face aggression or sometimes even physical violence, it can have a serious impact on their shift, their day, their wellbeing and ultimately their ability to provide high-quality care.

“We encourage our staff to always report these incidents and we will support prosecutions against anyone found guilty of abusing our staff in any way, whilst they are at work.”

Despite our staff working hard to provide the best possible care to patients, there has been a marked rise in acts of violence and aggression against NUH staff, where the number of reported incidents increased by more than 35% over a 12-month period.

Among those to experience aggression first-hand is Deputy Charge Nurse Hannah Freer, who has worked in the Emergency Department at Queen’s Medical Centre for six years.

She said: “Whilst at work I’ve been called many insulting names, and even received death threats. I’ve seen staff be assaulted, be punched, kicked and spat at. It’s just not acceptable and needs to stop.

“This is heightened when our services are under pressure and patients and relatives experience long waits. Some of our patients also may be more aggressive due to their condition. We do accept this; however, we know that in many cases the aggression and violence cannot be excused.

“We are here to help and deserve to be treated with respect and kindness, while at work.”

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