Hospitals Employ Police Officers to Beat Violence; CRIME: Move Highlights Growing Trend of Abuse and Attacks on Medical Staff
Byline: FELICITY WATERS
NEARLY every major hospital in Wales now has its own police officer to combat violence against medical staff.
A survey carried out by The Western Mail revealed that NHS Trusts are so concerned about verbal and physical abuse by patients that they are either already funding the services of a police officer or have plans to employ one.
The move highlights a growing trend of anti-social behaviour in hospitals, particularly in Accident and Emergency departments.
In its last crime audit Ysbyty Gwynedd recorded 508 violent incidents over a 12-month period while the University Hospital in Cardiff recorded 788 in 10 months.
The North West Wales Trust was the first to appoint a police officer and as a result violent crime at Ysbyty Gwynedd has dropped by 35pc.
Chief executive Keith Thomson said, "The Trust will not tolerate individuals behaving violently towards its staff. Staff working in the NHS go to work to care for others, they do not go to work to be victims of violence.
"The presence of a police officer at Ysbyty Gwynedd has been a tremendous help and reassurance to both staff and patients.
"Unfortunately there are still individuals who disrupt the work of staff throughout the Trust and sometimes threaten or even inflict injury on those staff."
Hospitals are adopting zero tolerance measures across Wales to deal with violence or abuse of staff particularly in Casualty departments.
There are now police officers on duty at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital, the Royal Glamorgan in Llantrisant, the Princess of Wales in Bridgend as well as Morriston Hospital in Swansea.
Glan Clwyd Hospital, Rhyl, plans to appoint an officer in April while Pembrokeshire and Derwen NHS Trust is discussing proposals to set up a beat office at Withybush Hospital. …