POLICE will be patrolling Wigan’s Accident and Emergency department this Christmas after a rise in assaults on hospital workers.
The shock figures revealed that there have been more than 200 assaults reported by staff at Wigan Infirmary inn the past two years and it rose to 106 last year from 98 the year before.
Now Greater Manchester Police say they are going to get tough on violent patients by posting officers in A&E as part of a new pilot scheme exclusive to Wigan.
A hospital spokesman and GMP said: “Staff, patients and visitors to the A&E department are benefiting from a heightened police presence over the festive season in a bid to crack down on troublemakers. As part of GMP’s Operation Connect, two Police Community Support Officers and two Police Constables carried out special patrols over the weekend. The patrols are believed to be the first of its kind in the North West. Both WWL and GMP are very proud to be working together on this ground breaking initiative.
“The period over Christmas and New Year is traditionally a very busy one for all the emergency services. Increased demand on the services is mainly linked to night time festive activity and domestic abuse; much of which can be alcohol and drugs related. Mental Health issues are also a major concern at this time of year.
“These issues have a significant impact on policing and healthcare due to increased levels of violence, substance and alcohol abuse and self-harming. In addition to this, emergency workers themselves can experience higher levels of threatening and violent behaviour including hate crimes and racial abuse.
“This year there are three weekends, plus a number of other critical dates, when demand is expected to be high; namely Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The aim of Operation Connect is to place police resources into the A&E environment of WWL during those key times, providing visible reassurance and a swift response to any incidents that arise. By doing this, we aim to enhance the good working relationships, communication and awareness between police and NHS workers.”
The scheme comes after an A&E consultant slammed drunken behaviour at an inquest into the death of a pensioner.
Doctor Mueed Ahmad told how there was delay in treating 91-year-old Tommy Kevan, when he was referred back to A & E by his GP 24 hours after being discharged because of problems with anti social behaviour by drunks and patients under the influence of recreational drugs.
He told the coroner: “I am glad that you have brought this up because unfortunately this is something we are we are experiencing on a more regular basis.
“Alcohol related problems and people misbehaving caused problems for patients and staff who should be treated with dignity and respect.”
Mr Kevan died from heart failure and aortic valve disease.
Police chiefs say they hope the pilot scheme - which will run till January - will be a successful deterrent and say that by carrying out this operation, they aim to achieve the following:
Provide safety and support to NHS staff, patients and visitors
Provide safety and support to victims of crime, their families and friends
Maintain a reassuring presence in A&E
Preserve best evidence to prosecute violent offenders
Ensure that violent incidents are reported to police
A spokesman for GMP said: “It is hoped that doctors, nurses, porters and security staff will feel significantly reassured and much less threatened and stressed as a result of the police presence. This will enable our staff to concentrate on their roles and not feel threatened by those they are helping.”