A NEW policy introduced to protect Pilgrim Hospital staff from violence and abuse has been hailed as a definite improvement on previous initiatives.
Lance Morgan, local security manager at United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust, which manages the Sibsey Road facility, said the new scheme would help staff to deal with violent and aggressive situations and would involve much closer links with local police.
He added that the new policy would make it clear that this sort of behaviour would not be tolerated, and work would be carried out to see that offenders were prosecuted.
Mr Morgan added: “Our staff are a valuable asset and we want them to feel supported at work.
“As a hospital we want to help people, but we are not prepared to have our staff abused.”
A total of 65 staff members experienced violent or aggressive behaviour in 2010-11 – at the hands of both patients, visitors and people passing through the hospital. Incidents have included people being spat at, hit, bitten or scratched.
Mr Morgan said that some instances may have been overlooked, as nurses and other hospital staff may believe the abuse comes with the job. He added that even if the level of abuse was low, the impact on staff members could be severe – with staff becoming very upset and even being forced to have time off work.
He said: “Even being shouted at can upset staff a tremendous amount, depending on the level of abuse they get. It can affect them greatly.”
As part of the new policy staff have received training to help them identify potentially aggressive situations and resolve conflict.
Support will also be provided to any staff whose case is taken to court.
The new policy has arrived at a time when, as Mr Morgan said more incidents were occurring in areas where they previously had not – including departments dealing with elderly people, who may lash out because of their conditions. He added there had also been an increase in people abusing staff if they receive negative news, or if they are made to wait for a long time.