Zero tolerance on violence against Cornwall's hospital staff
A ZERO-TOLERANCE policy on violence and aggression against staff has been reinforced at Cornwall's main hospitals after high-profile attacks.
Donna Mohammed was jailed this week after assaulting two members of staff in the accident and emergency unit at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro.
The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) said there were 13 assaults on staff between April 2012 and April 2013.
Rob Taylor, emergency department consultant, said it dealt with aggression on a daily basis.
He said: "It is a sad fact but it is not uncommon for the police to be asked to remove patients from the emergency department and most of the incidents are alcohol or drug related. We see it with the same people again and again and quite a few are women."
Dr Taylor said staff were trained in how to deal with these situations and try to diffuse them.
He said: "This type of behaviour is not tolerated elsewhere in society and the emergency department is no exception. We are here to help people. When we have to go and intervene in incidents, it means we are taken away from patients who need our time and care.
"Our staff do not deserve it, our patients do not deserve it. Our patients include parents with young children and older people with dementia. To be faced with someone shouting and swearing when you are unwell and at your most vulnerable is just wrong."
RCHT said violence could occur any day of the week.
Paul Dixon, RCHT's local security management specialist, said CCTV was used by the police and hospital security to ensure perpetrators were caught.
Mr Dixon said: "Antisocial behaviour takes our staff away from their duties because if they are having to break up fights or restrain people who are being violent to staff, other members of the public or property then they are not doing what they should be doing, which is caring for ill patients.
"We want to get the message across loud and clear that this will not be tolerated."