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NAHS conference: chair

Yesterday saw the first in-person gathering of the National Association for Healthcare Security (NAHS) since the covid pandemic. In an opening address, the NAHS chair Roger Ringham described work-streams that the association has been undertaking on behalf of its membership.

“NAHS has never held a position as a legal entity and although it remains our intention to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. We have now registered as a Limited Company. This is so that NAHS, as a legal entity can hold, control and own its intellectual property, assets and data. NAHS is in talks with a number of training providers to develop ‘bespoke’ Healthcare Security Management training for managers and other security personnel (Level 1 – 5). The latter would replace the LSMS Course. NAHS is planning to have a L5 Healthcare Security Managers Course developed by the start of the next financial year. NAHS is also looking to develop a career pathway for Healthcare security professionals. Once these courses have been established NAHS will then look to formulate Accredited Healthcare Security Standards / Publicly Accessible Standard (PAS) and become a ‘Professional Register’ for Healthcare Security Managers and other healthcare security personnel.”

NAHS has continued to enhance its standing within the security industry, he went on. “NAHS has a founding seat on the Security Institute’s award winning Inclusive Security Special Interest Group. I would like to welcome Satia Rai and Mark Chapple from the SIG; NAHS also holds a seat on the Cabinet Office’s consultative group reviewing the proposed Standards and Qualifications for Penetration Testing.

He congratulated one of the day’s speakers; Michelle Russell as newly appointed CEO of the SIA. Michelle was accompanied by Heather Baily, this summer appointed as Chair of the SIA. “Knowing the calibre of both individuals they make a formidable pair and NAHS and I look forward to working with them both in the future.”

NAHS has representation on the SIA Violence Prevention Forum; and the SIA Strategic Group, Roger reported. In June 2021 the Manchester Arena Inquiry led by Sir John Saunders published its first report which made two monitored recommendations that were addressed to both the SIA and the Home Office. The recommendations were: MR7 – The requirement that only those monitoring CCTV under a contract for services need to hold an SIA licence should be reviewed; and MR8 – Consideration should be given to whether contractors who carried out security services should be required to be licensed.

On September 30, the SIA submitted an interim update to the Inquiry on these recommendations and members of the NAHS executive team contributed to these findings. NAHS continues to have a seat on the Security Commonwealth to represent Healthcare Security in the broader security industry. “I am also pleased to announce our own President Jayne King has been appointed as Chair of the Security Commonwealth (congratulations Jayne). I also welcome Dave Cooke, Secretary of the Security Commonwealth.”

NAHS has developed a number of Memorandums of Understanding with other security industry organisations, Roger went on: with the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety; the Institute of Strategic Risk Management (ISRM); and International Foundation for Protection Officers (IFPO). NAHS is also developing MOUs with: the Association of University Chief Security Officers (AUCSO) – among attenders and speakers was Les Allan; and the Institute of Hotel Security Management (IHSM).

Roger began his welcome to the event by recalling that in 2003, he was a serving police officer working as a Detective on the Serious Crime Group. “The title speaks for itself as my team were only deployed to investigate the most serious of cases. If you had asked me back then, what I thought of criminals becoming ill and requiring NHS care it would have probably put a smile on my face!

That said, back then, I had no concept of the violence or abuse that healthcare staff suffered. The extent of the physical, psychological and emotional impact incidents had on the workforce. How this affected morale, the health and wellbeing of personnel. I had no idea of the effect it had on sickness, absence, recruitment and retention, or the additional financial burden it placed on the NHS from increased bank and agency spend or litigation claims. All of which leads to reduced service delivery and quality of patient care.”

He recalled also from 2003 how, after significant increases in incidents of violence against staff, with a plethora of other security related incidents, the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service was formed and under Secretary of State’s Directions NHS Trusts were required to: appoint an Executive and Non-Executive Director to oversee security management work; appoint a Local Security Management Specialist; and comply with Secretary of State’s Directions for Security Management and other associated statutory legislation.

“In addition the LSMS was required to undergo propriety checks to ensure they were a fit and proper person. They were required to attend a four week Security Management Course accredited by Portsmouth University at one of the two CFSMS training schools and upon completion they were entered on a professional register. In 2011 the CFSMS was replaced by NHS Protect. Their remit was to lead on work to identify and tackle crime across the health service. To protect NHS staff and resources from activities that would otherwise undermine their effectiveness and ability to meet the needs of patients and professionals.

“In addition, Secretary of State’s Directions were reinforced by security management standards. Which were introduced by way of the NHS England Standard Contract. In addition NHSP undertook organisational quality assurance assessments to measure compliance by commissioner and provider organisations of NHS funded healthcare services.

“You may consider this an appropriate response for the UK’s largest employer, Europe’s largest employer and eighth largest employer in the world. Especially as the NHS cares for the sick, the elderly, the acutely unwell and those most vulnerable in our society. Then in 2017 all that changed, NHS Protect was disbanded. Standards were abolished and regulation for healthcare security management ceased. For five years the healthcare security industry has waited patiently for a replacement but it has not come.

“Then in April 2021, under General Condition 5.9 of the NHS England Standard Contract, a new Violence Prevention and Reduction Standard was introduced. Whilst developing the standard NHS England linked with Healthcare Security Managers nationally and established a working party. They attended regional security management group meetings and called upon NAHS to contribute to the content. But when it was released there was no mention of security management in healthcare or organisations that supported and contributed to its development. The new role developed to undertake this new standard was designated a Violence Prevention and Reduction Lead.

“Other security management work-streams have been ignored. Which, when you look at the security issues surrounding COVID (lockdown) and additional work-streams including security of Mass Vaccination Sites, Outreach Programmes, School Age Immunisation Services and recent events in Kent, Sussex, Tunbridge Wells and Liverpool it is abundantly clear that security management in healthcare should not and cannot be ignored.

Roger described NAHS work as comprehensive and ambitious, to: develop an academic and structured professional career pathway for security management professionals within healthcare; work with supervisory and regulatory bodies to establish a governance framework based on statutory legislation; and set up a quality assurance programme to ensure that security management in healthcare maintains the highest possible standards of expertise and professionalism.

More from the event in the January print edition of Professional Security magazine.


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