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Police assigned to protect NHS staff across London hospitals

A police team has been assigned to protect emergency departments (EDs) across four major hospitals in London.
TILE_Not_one_of_Lond_Hosps-Alamy.jpg

A police team has been assigned to protect emergency departments (EDs) across four major hospitals in London.

Hospital liaison officers will protect nurses and other staff from assault and remove patients that refuse to be discharged. They are also due to attend community events as part of neighbourhood policing.

The team, which consists of three officers from the Metropolitan Police, was set up in March and will be attached to the Royal Free, Whittington, University College London and Great Ormond Street hospitals, the Telegraph reported.

The number of attacks on NHS staff has increased in recent years.

Rise in assaults

In February, an RCN members survey found that 56% had experienced physical or verbal abuse from patients and a further 63% from patients' relatives or members of the

A police team has been assigned to protect emergency departments (EDs) across four major hospitals in London.


The hospital liaison officers will be based in emergency departments. Picture: Alamy

Hospital liaison officers will protect nurses and other staff from assault and remove patients that refuse to be discharged. They are also due to attend community events as part of neighbourhood policing.

The team, which consists of three officers from the Metropolitan Police, was set up in March and will be attached to the Royal Free, Whittington, University College London and Great Ormond Street hospitals, the Telegraph reported.

The number of attacks on NHS staff has increased in recent years.

Rise in assaults 

In February, an RCN members survey found that 56% had experienced physical or verbal abuse from patients and a further 63% from patients' relatives or members of the public.

A report from NHS Protect showed a 4% rise in physical assaults against health care workers in England, from 67,864 in 2014-15 to 70,555 in 2015-16.

Figures obtained by Nursing Standard revealed in January the overall bill for compensation payments and legal costs for NHS staff injuries last year, which included assaults by patients, was £47.5 million.

RCN London regional director Bernell Bussue said the college welcomed the support from police, but added that no one should be made to fear for their physical safety in the course of their work.

Increased confidence 

'This is sadly not the first time that we have seen NHS staff needing protection from the police,' he said. 'However, the move to post a permanent team across these four hospitals is indicative of the rise in assaults on nurses and other health professionals by members of the public.'

A Met Police spokesperson said that dedicated officers have been based throughout London for a number of years to provide reassurance for staff and patients.

'In more recent months we started a series of training events in an attempt to improve the collaborative working between police and hospitals across London,' the spokesperson said. 

'The Hospital Liaison Team at Camden and Islington is part of this project. The training allows local officers and hospital staff, alongside their own security teams, to develop their knowledge and understanding of the main crime prevention opportunities within these environments. This will lead to increased staff confidence, and create a more consistent police response working together with our NHS partners.'


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