Increased focus on security in hospitals
In the latest of our series looking behind the curtain of your local NHS, we meet Adrian McLean, part of the security team at The Northumbria hospital.
Keeping people safe while they are a patient, a visitor or a member of staff at The Northumbria hospital is the responsibility of the security team.
On duty 24/7, they are on hand to handle any issues which may arise, night or day, and are at the end of a phone, or radio, to assist staff whenever they need it.
They carry out regular patrols and continually keep abreast of the whole site by monitoring the dozens of cameras.
Adrian Mclean is a security charge hand and heads up the 20-strong team.
He has been at the hospital, which cares for patients who are seriously ill and injured, for three years.
“It’s a really interesting and varied role,” said Adrian. “We carry out a range of tasks throughout the day to make sure there’s nothing untoward happening on the site and patients, visitors and staff are kept safe.
“Above all, though, we are the hospital’s first response and at any time we can be called to the emergency department, one of the wards or indeed to any part of the hospital to deal with an incident or help diffuse a situation. This is often due to a patient becoming agitated as a result of what’s happening to them or due to their condition.
“You have to remember that we are an emergency care hospital and care for people who are very ill and tensions can run high.
“There are many factors that can lead to situations, however, increasingly, they are mental health or dementia-related.
“Whatever the reason, and alcohol and drugs can also play a part, our team will deal with it calmly and are excellent at developing a connection with the person to help de-escalate.
“We are trained to physically restrain people if we need to but, thankfully, most of the time that’s not required, often due to the sensitive way in which situations are approached.”
The number of assaults – physical and verbal – against staff across the NHS has risen in recent years and there is now an increased focus on security in hospitals.
As a result, the team at The Northumbria – like those across the country – wear body cameras and a large part of the security team’s role is to be a visible presence and reassurance for patients, visitors and staff.
“Go to any hospital nowadays and you’ll see security guards, that’s just the way,” said Adrian, who formerly worked in a similar role in a department store.
Working closely with staff on the frontline, the security team is a key part of the hospital team.
Adrian said: “Everyone works really well together, we’re there for one another and help each other get through our shifts, especially the more challenging days.
“In security, we have a great group of lads and their different skills help us gel as a team. We also have a good laugh, which is important too.”