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September 8, 2022

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The healthcare sector ‘must focus on NHS staff safety and security’ amid rising workplace violence, says NAHS

Against a backdrop of rising security risks to healthcare staff, the National Association for Healthcare Security (NAHS) has urged for renewed focus on NHS staff and lone worker protection.

BodywornCameras-Healthcare-21The Association, which has more than 700 members across the healthcare sector, is championing improved information sharing and best-practice development with the support of industry supporters. The risks to healthcare staff will no doubt form part of the agenda at its annual national conference programme in November at the University of Birmingham – said to be significantly expanded this year.

News of ‘abuse and harassment’ of NHS staff has increased in the past 12-24 months, with several reports of employees at higher risk due to a variety of factors. Nurses working in a clinic in South Belfast recently raised concerns following ‘a number of attacks on staff members’, while a report from the British Medical Association (BMA) has highlighted that NHS staff face ‘a double whammy of increasing racist attacks and discrimination’.

Similar instances of growing violence against staff have been seen in the public transportation sector, too.

“We currently have no formal annual reporting of aggression against NHS staff nationally, all the data we have suggests this is a problem that is continuing to grow. With workload pressures also increasing, and many NHS Trusts struggling to recruit staff, improving safety is a priority,” Roger Ringham, NAHS Chair, said.

He added that technology has a significant role to play in supporting NHS staff and lone worker safety. Partnerships such as the global sponsorship agreement with CriticalArc would bring significant benefits, said Roger, including assistance with research projects and improved partnerships with the higher education sector.

“Developing new solutions and sharing best practice are key aims for NAHS, and we welcome CriticalArc’s support as we invest in improved services for members. This renewed focus on worker protection will be reflected in our annual conference programme in November, and the initiatives that arise from it.”

SafeZone, already widely used throughout the UK’s universities, is now being adopted by NHS trusts too. It is said to be enabling rapid emergency assistance for thousands of NHS staff – including lone workers in hospitals, at local clinics, and in the community – precisely locating checked-in users and allowing control room operators to coordinate faster responses, for example, by directing all relevant responders to the scene of an incident.

Its platform is also being used by NHS trusts for a growing list of functions including direct and targeted mass communications, ‘See it? Say it!’ tip reporting by staff, and streamlined coordination between clinical teams and their team leaders.

“With healthcare services under enormous pressure, NAHS is focusing on the priority challenges facing NHS security teams, including lone worker protection, preparedness and incident response,” said Darren Chalmers-Stevens, CriticalArc’s Chief Operating Officer. “CriticalArc is pleased to be bringing our proven solution to the table to help NHS trusts respond, and to be providing our support and expertise to NAHS as a global sponsor.”

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