Winter healthcare pressures increase the need for hospital security

  • Published on: 12 February 2019
  • By: Paula
Winter healthcare pressures increase the need for hospital security

It’s that time of year when hospitals are under extra pressure.  The cold weather often sees a rise in emergency admissions and an increase in the levels of flu and norovirus affecting both staff and patients can cause difficulties for many NHS Trusts.  And this is before even mentioning the impact of the festive season!

Last year was particularly difficult with a number of hospitals postponing operations, ambulances queuing up outside A&E departments or being diverted, while hospital corridors were filled with patients on trolleys waiting for beds to become available.  

It can be at these times when hospital security guards are needed more than ever.  Patients, families and friends get understandably upset when they have to wait and A&E can become a fractious environment.  Add in a few intoxicated patients or friends and things can escalate quickly. 

Security guards working in a hospital environment are trained to read situations quickly and provide a calm and reassuring presence.  They have non-pain based physical intervention and conflict management skills, and are able to safely diffuse incidents which can pose a risk to patients and staff.

People may question the money the NHS spends on providing security guards in hospitals, and indeed it is a shame they are needed, but they provide a valuable service protecting staff and patients and ensuring that doctors and nurses are able to do their jobs saving lives.

Although winter is always more difficult, last year was the worst situation the NHS has had to deal with in many years and the government has taken steps to prepare services for this winter with an additional £420m in funding.  So far things are looking better, at least when compared with last year, but there is still a lot more help the NHS needs to ensure a smooth-running healthcare system.

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