Hospital bosses splash £250k on security to protect staff and patients
Wolverhampton hospital bosses spent almost £250,000 on security after more than 70 patients and staff were attacked.
There were 77 physical assaults on staff and patients at New Cross Hospital in the last financial year 2016/17 – up from 44 the year before. There were also 165 occasions of verbal abuse on staff, and five against patients.
The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, spent £243,454 on security over seven months in the last financial year. It equates to almost £35,000 a month.
Most of the cash went towards a contract with security firm Carlisle Support Services.
The company employs at least 19 security officers covering buildings and the hospital site’s car parks and provides training to staff.
The firm also runs a 24-hour control room and a surveillance CCTV system at the hospital.
A spokesman for the trust said the amount of money spent on security would not reduce, even if the number attacks dropped.
But he added: “Violence against our staff is something we take extremely seriously and do not tolerate. We provide specialist conflict resolution training for all frontline staff.
“This focuses on approaches that are designed to de-escalate situations where possible. Staff are actively encouraged to report incidents and due to the increase in staff at the trust we have seen an increase in figures.”
The figures on attacks and the money spent on security came from a Freedom of Information request submitted to the trust.
It was unable to give a breakdown of the number of physical attacks to patients and staff.
Last night, Ian Jenkins, chairman of Wolverhampton Lib Dems, said: “It’s a damning indictment that we need paid security in our hospitals to protect nurses from yobs.
“NHS staff are heroes and go above and beyond. Being attacked while they try to care for people is scandalous.
“People need to know that we won’t tolerate any threatening behaviour towards NHS staff.
“In the past these incidents they may have previously seen as ‘just part of the job’, that needs to end.”