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Argyll assists NHS security specialists.

Argyll : 16 April, 2007  (Application Story)
Argyll and local security management specialists in the NHS tackle rising attacks on staff with lone worker protection systems.
Violent and abusive patients attacked an estimated 75,000 NHS staff last year costing the NHS more than £100 million, according to a recently televised Panorama investigation. To help combat the growing rise of attacks on NHS staff, a new role has been created within the NHS - that of Local Security Management Specialist (LSMS). They are turning to companies such as Argyll Telecom to provide state-of-the-art technology to help in the fight against violence.

LSMS are trained and accredited professionals who have been appointed in health bodies across England to tackle security issues locally and provide a single point of contact for staff and the police. A network of 179 accredited specialists is currently in place across the country, with many more being trained. They work with all staff in the Trust and the NHS CFSMS as well as external organisations including the local police services, professional representative bodies and trade unions.

"My role is to investigate, advise and bring those who are violent to NHS staff to court", says Henry Grant, LSMS at North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, a busy acute general hospital serving the communities of the London Borough of Enfield and Haringey and surrounding areas. "The objective is to deliver an environment that is safe and secure so that the highest standards of clinical care can be made available to patients".

Whilst the Panorama investigation focused on the violence to NHS staff in hospitals, NHS lone workers are even more vulnerable to verbal and physical abuse having no direct support from colleagues. Midwives, health visitors, GPs, district nurses and paramedics are in the front line everyday often facing potential violence from patients and their families.

"There are times when lone workers may be faced by an extremely disturbed person", continued Henry Grant. "Simply being out and about on some of the estates our staff have to visit, where alcohol and other substances are consumed, can in itself feel threatening".

Faced with the need to support NHS lone workers, LSMS like Henry Grant are turning to companies such as Argyll Telecom that can offer a range of lone worker products to safeguard lone workers and help combat increasing poor staff moral.

After investigating a range of safety systems, Henry Grant, selected a mix of solutions from Argyll Telecom from which the Trust's managers could choose.
These included Argyll's IdentiCare lone worker device which looks like a normal ID card-holder but is equipped with mobile telephone technology and its CommuniCare service which enables lone workers to summon assistance from a mobile phone or specialist device should they find themselves in a potentially abusive situation. Both solutions are monitored by Argyll's integrated control room through which the Trust manages and monitors lone worker locations, time at risk and provides them with an effective duress facility 24/7.

Should a member of staff experience a potentially hazardous situation, they are a single button-press away from quickly and discreetly summoning assistance. When an alert is received, Argyll's trained operators put into effect an agreed incident management procedure, and if required, use existing links with the police to ensure a swift response. Sophisticated voice recording ensures that every incident is captured and can be produced as evidence if required.

"Lone worker devices supplied by companies like Argyll Telecom are helping us in the fight to stop violence against NHS staff", concluded Henry Grant. 'They are giving us the technology to record violent behaviour, bring successful prosecutions and improve moral amongst.'

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