Suffolk

West Suffolk Hospital staff get hi-tech panic alarms

West Suffolk Hospital staff who work alone in the community have been issued with a new hi-tech panic alarm to help keep them safe when visiting patients.

The new technology is being given to midwifery staff, community dieticians and other staff who work on their own and away from the hospital.

The device is about the same size as a normal ID holder and includes three buttons connected to a call centre.

Staff can use it to tell the call centre where they are or alert police.

One button is activated on arrival at an address, with the staff member speaking into the device to give their name and details of where they are, including the postcode.

Following the home visit, they will press a second button to confirm they have left.

'Trigger word'

If this does not happen, call centre staff will be alerted and will first try and reach the individual before calling the police.

The final button will attract immediate help in difficult situations by allowing call centre staff to listen in to the conversation with the patient and record it so that it can be used as evidence in court.

If the staff member says an agreed trigger word, the police will be dispatched.

Jim Pretty, security manager at the hospital in Bury St Edmunds, said: "We take the safety of all of our staff extremely seriously as we want them to be able to do their jobs to the best of their ability without worrying that they will become victims of aggression or abuse."

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