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A healthcare security manager speaking at ST17 Midlands last week raised concerns over the Government’s upcoming change to the body that oversees security in the National Health Service.
He’s Sean Keown, vice-chairman of the National Association for Healthcare Security (NAHS), and the local security management specialist (LSMS) for East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) NHS Trust. Sean told the event that NHS Protect, the central body that looks after security management, no longer will from April 1; its focus will be solely counter-fraud. Sean described that change as a concern to himself and many of his counterparts across the NHS. While it’s not new – NHS Protect has been under review since 2014 – from April, as Sean said, who (if anyone) will take ownership of NHS security standards and inspection of them is unknown.
Much of his talk however was given over to more day to day issues – of assaults (including sexual) and aggression and other violence against ambulance staff, including lone paramedics; and loss of property. Sean gave the case of a lone paramedic who was called to a nightclub. While outside, and while his back was turned, someone stole a defibrilator monitor; a new one costs £16,000. The thief took it into an alley, Sean told the conference, and kicked it.
Besides the risk to staff, there is also a cost to the trust if an ambulance or other vehicle is off the road; and that, Sean said, has a direct impact on the community that the trust is serving. “We can’t afford to lose a £100,000 ambulance for six weeks,” Sean said, referring to the cost of a new ambulance, and a recent case where a drunken man attacked a parked ambulance one night with a slab. The crew, indoors in a patient’s house at the time, filmed the attacker on a personal phone; the attacker had no connection to the patient. Sean said that if the crew had been inside the cab, they would have been injured from flying glass and pieces of the slab. Many of such incidents, Sean told the event, were by people intoxicated, either through drink or a mix of drink and drugs (recreational or prescribed).
For more about the slab case, see the EMAS website.
More in the March 2017 print issue of Professional Security magazine.
About the speaker
Based in Nottingham, Sean Keown’s part of the crime and security management team for his NHS trust, which covers from Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast to the High Peak of Derbyshire, and Northamptonshire; six counties, 70 buildings, 350 vehicles.
About the NAHS
The National Association for Healthcare Security has a northern conference at General Infirmary on March 24. Visit www.nahs.org.uk.
Picture by Mark Rowe; Sean Keown (wearing Security Institute tie) after he gave his talk to ST17 Midlands, at the East Midlands Conference Centre on the University of Nottingham campus.