A Teesside based health care trust has issued a stark message to the public warning of strengthened ward security measures as cases of illegal drug misuse are on the rise.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust have already fitted two of their Stockton site wards with locks to ensure they can monitor any suspicious behaviors, and warns it may have to extend the process to the rest of their wards.
Julie Lane, Chief Nurse and Director of Patient Safety and Quality has spoken about the precautions taken ‘we have struggled with issues surrounding drug addiction with some of our patients for some time now. We have worked exceptionally hard to support ending the problem before we decided to take this action. We have staff who have witnessed drug deals first hand on site, so we have been sharing available CCTV with the local police force as we try to tackle it.
We will not compromise on the safety of all of our patients, staff and those within our hospital sites’.
The Trust has spoken out about a number of growing issues faced by the NHS as a whole, including a campaign in 2018 highlighting the growing incidents of violence against emergency workers.
“Our population deserves so much more”
– Chief Nurse, Julie Lane
Julie Gillon, Chief Executive for the organisation has backed the move, vowing to challenge the health inequalities that lead to high drug use in the region saying ‘our hospitals are in some of the most deprived areas not only in the North East, but in England. Our population deserve so much more. It is my personal aim, with partners across our system to work towards positive transformation. It’s disappointing to have reached the point that we must put locks on our ward doors, but patient safety is at the heart of what we deliver’.
Throughout 2019 there have been an average of two drug related incidents per month within the CQC GOOD rated Trust and five malicious assaults acts committed against staff, reported to police. In 2018 it was announced that sentences for those convicted of aggression against emergency service staff would be doubled.