By Gareth Hughes, Daily Post
Police officers may soon be based in the accident and emergency units at North Wales’s three main hospitals.
And following a successful experiment in Ysbyty Gwynedd, CCTV cameras and voice recorders may be installed at Glan Clwyd and Wrexham Maelor hospitals to help reduce the number of violent incidents.
Members of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board were told that in 2010-2011 the number of recorded incidents of violence and aggression in hospitals across the region fell from 2,140 to 1,529, of which 854 were in the mental health sector. In acute and general sectors there were 473 incidents, with 144 in the community sector and 58 in A&E.
There were 331 cases of verbal abuse and 643 of aggression, with the number of incidents of physical assault having fallen by 31% to 527, but in her report to the Board the Director of Governance and Communications Grace Lewis-Parry stressed that not all incidents may have been reported.
Five incidents were reported to the Health and Safety Executive as staff had been off work for at least three days as a result of violence.
During the year 86 people were arrested at Health Board establishments and of the 33 who were charged, 29 were successfully prosecuted.
The Board is in talks with the police over providing a police presence in A&E departments at all three district general hospitals.
In addition to CCTV cameras, voice recorders were trialled in Ysbyty Gwynedd, and according to the report the system provided staff with an additional tool to de-escalate incidents and act as a deterrent to would-be offenders.
“The pilot was a success and consideration will now be given to providing similar equipment for A&E departments at Wrexham and Glan Clwyd,” members were told.
Another pilot scheme which proved successful was automated alarm devices for lone workers. The devices were tested by community staff in East and West areas, and so the Welsh Government, who were behind the scheme, arranged for them to be provided for all staff identified as lone workers.
“Staff have a right to expect a safe and secure workplace and violence and aggression remains a serious issue for staff and management of BCUHB, and the continued effective management of violence and aggression is therefore essential,” said the report.
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