Security tightened at NHS community hospitals after spate of thefts, vandalism and aggression

PUBLISHED: 14:52 20 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:51 10 June 2010

AGGRESSIVE behaviour, vandalism and a series of thefts over recent months have prompted hospital managers to work with police and the NHS security service to tighten security at community hospitals.

AGGRESSIVE behaviour, vandalism and a series of thefts over recent months have prompted hospital managers to work with police and the NHS security service to tighten security at community hospitals.

At one of the community hospitals, run by Devon Primary Care Trust, copper piping was stolen from a non-clinical building, leaving water flooding into a room.

Trespassers ran through the grounds of a hospital late at night causing disturbance to patients and nearby residents.

In another hospital earlier this year local young people were abusive to staff, climbed on a roof and broke tiles.

A brick was thrown through a window into a ward area.

Devon PCT has now installed additional CCTV cameras and perimeter security lighting, and used anti-vandal paint on drain pipes.

It has also removed ground cover at the front of hospital buildings so there are no hiding places for vandals.

Henry Tobin, risk and health and safety manager for Devon Primary Care Trust said: "We have taken these steps to increase security because vandalism and theft costs us money we want to spend on patient care, and because aggressive behaviour can be very traumatic for our staff."

NHS staff aim to treat patients, visitors and relatives with courtesy and respect and its staff expect the same from the people they come into contact with.

During November, which is designated as NHS Security Awareness Month, the NHS is repeating its message that the service will not tolerate aggressive behaviour towards staff.

The vast majority of patients, visitors and relatives show this courtesy.

The message is aimed at the very small number of people who are aggressive or abuse our premises.

"We ask the public to remain vigilant and to help us by reporting incidents and behaviour which threatens staff and buildings," said Mr Tobin.

Information may be passed to the police in confidence via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. The police also encourage people to call on the 999 system if they see suspicious behaviour happening at the time.

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