IT IS a sorry reflection of these times that a police hub has now opened in one of this region’s largest hospitals to provide a reassuring presence to NHS staff.
A necessary precaution, the link up between Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital – and South Yorkshire Police – further highlights the importance of the Protect The Protectors campaign which The Yorkshire Post is continuing to support.
Nearly 300 staff at this one hospital were attacked in the past year – a state of affairs which cannot be tolerated any longer if this country wants to send out the strongest possible signal that there is no justification for the level of physical aggression, and verbal threats, which leave NHS staff and patients terrified and fearing for their safety.
By their very nature, hospitals are supposed to be a place of safety and this initiative, even more timely ahead of a festival period when there is a rise in alcohol and drug-fuelled violence, shows why the courts need to be persuaded to make the most of the new sentencing powers which are at their disposal.
Only a zero tolerance approach – and the use of maximum sentences to act as a deterrent – will suffice if emergency workers, the people expected to run towards danger when a serious accident or incident takes place, are to receive the full protection of the law as they go about their work.
As such, it is to be hoped that this new partnership reduces attacks on hospital staff – and that its lessons can be utilised across the country. But there’s one question that will need to be answered at some point – who foots the bill, given the cost of providing round-the-clock police cover at the Northern General Hospital?