PATIENTS, staff and visitors will be safer after a borough hospital spent more than £200,000 on extra security measures.
New, extended round-the-clock security, using the most up-to-date technology, is now in place at South Tyneside District Hospital, with the number of cameras almost doubled from 50 to 96.
Between 2010 and 2011, 53 members of staff at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust were assaulted while at work.
It’s now hoped the new measures will help cut down on violence and aggression in busy areas like the A&E department at the hospital in Harton Lane, South Shields.
Chris Davies, the trust’s head of facilities, said: “We carried out a security review about 18 months ago, prompted by an increase in incidents, mainly around violence and aggression, and predominantly in ‘high traffic’ areas such as our A&E department and some ward areas.
“As a result, we identified the need for more staff to enable us to provide a continuous security presence and surveillance, and for our CCTV equipment to be updated and coverage increased.”
MITIE Security Services Ltd was initially awarded a temporary deal to provide 24/7 security and they have now been given a three-year contract. The security officers work from a control room which has been refurbished and, as well as monitoring the CCTV cameras, they patrol the hospital site on a regular basis.
There is also increased coverage in the maternity block and in many of the public areas, and in Palmer Community Hospital in Jarrow, where the Trust has an elderly care ward.
Newly-introduced digital technology means images are clearer, which makes it easier for the police to identify and prosecute offenders.
Mr Davies added: “We attach the utmost importance to the personal safety and security of our patients, visitors and staff and we do not tolerate violent or abusive behaviour.
“Where this occurs, we will always seek to prosecute offenders. Our aim in introducing an increased, visible security presence and investing in ultra-modern equipment to detect unreasonable and, possible, criminal behaviour, is that this will act as a deterrent.”