Hospital staff given alarms after attacks

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Staff at the Emergency Department of Craigavon Area Hospital have been given personal alarms after a spate of attacks.

It is one of only three hospitals in Northern Ireland to issue the alarms.

CRAIGAVON AREA HOSPITAL

CRAIGAVON AREA HOSPITAL

Doctors, nurses and support staff such as porters have been given the personal alarms.

It follows a massive surge in attacks against hospital staff at Emergency Departments.

The Southern Trust, which runs Craigavon Area Hospital as well as Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry, confirmed its Emergency Department staff had been given personal alarms.

The move comes ten years after the Department of Health launched a high-profile ‘zero-tolerance’ campaign to stop violence in hospital and community settings.

Accident and Emergency staff at Fermanagh’s South West Acute Hospital were also issued with alarms after a 56 per cent rise in attacks by patients in one year.

A leading nurse who has extensive experience working across emergency departments in the province insisted there was still a ‘massive under-reporting’ of the 
problem.

Linsey Sheerin, who heads up the Royal College of Nursing ‘Emergency Care Network’ group, said she had also suffered attacks at the hands of some patients - but that it has become ‘part of the job when it shouldn’t be’.

Ms Sheerin told the Irish News: “I welcome the introduction of these alarms but they are not going to prevent acts of aggression - this has been an ongoing issue.

“There is a belief that it is mainly drunken patients who attack staff but this isn’t always the case.

“Many patients become frustrated with long waiting times and the fact they’re in an emergency department in the first place,” said Ms Sheerin.

A spokesperson for the Southern Health Trust said: “There are a range of security measures in place which are specific to the emergency department.

“Personal security alarms have been made available to all trust staff.”