latest health care news

07.07.15

Lack of funding a barrier to boosting NHS lone staff safety

Employers in the NHS have said the main barriers to improving lone worker protection are a lack of available funding and resources. 

A comprehensive study by NHS Protect has revealed that almost two-thirds of employers that responded to its survey said they didn’t have the money to improve lone worker protection, and 43.5% said they lacked sufficient resource to do so. 

However, under the NHS Standard Contract for 2015-16, all organisations providing NHS services must put in place and maintain appropriate counter fraud and security management arrangements, which includes procedures for the protection of lone workers. 

More than 2,000 stakeholders in the NHS were contacted by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and over 700 commissioned services were invited by NHS Protect to complete the survey, with data collection taking place from January to April 2015. 

The research also highlighted a significant variation in the way in which lone worker protection is provided across different sectors, regions and organisations. 

For instance, the ambulance sector has the lowest rate of lone worker device usage, despite the fact that they would be expected to have a higher proportion of lone workers. 

Additionally, the mental health sector does not have a higher rate of lone worker device usage to reflect its higher frequency of assaults, though it is possible that lone working incidents make up a small proportion of these. 

In their lone worker protection planning for the next two years, most NHS organisations are looking at lone worker devices (41%), training (40%), management systems (28%) and CCTV (31%). However, the lowest level of intention to improve lone worker protection is found among organisations with the lowest level of current protection, (29.4% for no devices versus 52.9% for some devices). 

The type of devices being used also shows a high degree of regional variation. The most common device overall is the badge-holder (38.2%). The key fob device is predominately popular in the south east region, and it accounts for 12.5% of devices overall. 

Use of mobile phones for lone work is steadily rising, but NHS Protect said it the low usage of mobile phone alert apps is surprising, given the number of mobile phone users. 

Sue Frith, managing director of NHS Protect, said: “We needed a comprehensive overview of the full range of lone worker protection systems and user groups out there in the NHS. This refreshes our understanding of the fast-changing lone worker services market and will inform important decisions in the years ahead. 

“The level of response was excellent, especially from acute trusts, mental health trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups.” 

Kim Sunley, senior employment relations adviser at the Royal College of Nursing, added that there are times when a patient or relative can be aggressive or disruptive due to a medical condition. 

“Nursing staff should feel able to raise concerns about the situations they face, and either visit in pairs or have access to a safety device to raise the alarm. Many employers are saying the right things and have the right policies, but what is really needed is for those policies to be a reality in practice,” added Sunley.

 

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us throu more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental ... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

Investing in people to reap the full benefits of data in the NHS

03/08/2020Investing in people to reap the full benefits of data in the NHS

Adam Mayer, Senior Manager, Qlik Data has the power to drastically improve patient care delivery within our healthcare services. From managing key operational issues... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >