NHS Protect has this week announced that lack of funding and resources are the main barriers to improving the safety of their lone workers. In a questionnaire about protection levels, 62% of NHS employers said that they didn’t have the money or resources to make any improvements in the near future.
An alternative article from Nursing Protect highlighted that with nearly one quarter of lone workers in the mental health sector having been assaulted, the need for an increase in protection is vital. The survey suggested that there was a correlation between those using paid for lone worker safety devices and a lower assault rate on staff.
In light of the increasing mobility of NHS workers and the provision of more services out in the community, NHS Protect wanted to find out how well protected lone workers are. The results indicated that the levels of protection provided for lone workers vary largely according to which sector they operate in. Typically, the sector with the lowest number of assaults has the highest use of devices, indicating that the devices are proving a worthy deterrent to those carrying out attacks. Alarmingly, workers from the mental health sector experience the highest rate of assaults with a low number of devices in use.
The research also uncovered that organisations with the lowest existing levels of protection for lone workers were not planning to review the safety of their staff, a worrying fact considering the number of high-risk community based services are due to rise. Sue Frith, Managing Director of NHS Protect stated: “These findings suggest that there is more work to do so that the importance of lone worker protection is recognised and to ensure that a range of solutions are available. The national picture is that there are holes in the NHS safety net for lone workers. Employers in the NHS will continue to have our full support to fix them.”