Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation have achieved an upgraded CQC rating following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.
The trust which provides a range of mental health services in northern England has been rated as ‘good’ by regulators following a series of improvements.
One of the areas highlighted in the official report were measures undertaken to protect lone workers. The trust currently employs over 3,700 staff and volunteers working across 200 locations in Rotherham, Doncaster, North Lincolnshire and Manchester serving around 150,000 patients.
Services mainly comprise mental health and learning disability provision for all ages, although the trust has also diversified into community services including district nursing.
Health visitors and district nurses regularly attend appointments on their own in patient’s homes, putting them at risk of assault. To help mitigate this issue, the trust has supplied staff with MySOS devices from Skyguard. These compact personal safety alarms are small enough to fit on a keychain and can be easily activated in situations where the user feels unsafe.
The main benefit is that others can be made aware of a problem by the user discreetly pressing a single button. Specially trained Controllers are then able to listen in and summon help if necessary. Should an appointment overrun, a timer can also be set to automatically trigger an activation after this time has elapsed.
The threat to health sector workers is very real as official statistics released by the NHS show in 2015-16 that there were 939 physical assaults recorded for those working at NHS Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber Foundation Trust.
Nationally the total number of assaults during the same period was 70,555. These shocking figures have led to recent calls for assaults on NHS workers to be made a specific criminal offence, in the same way that attacks on police officers are already regarded.
At Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber, a lone worker risk assessment for each team has also been implemented, which has contributed towards making the trust a safer place and securing the improved classification.
Dr Deb Wildgoose, Director of Nursing and Quality, said “This is a really good overall rating and our staff have worked incredibly hard to achieve this.
“The trust will, as always, continue to work hard to deliver the best services possible, keeping patients, their families and carers at the heart of our care,” she added.
Investing in the wellbeing and personal safety of employees is important, particularly for those that work alone. The peace of mind that help is only a button press away provides vital reassurance, ensuring workers feel secure as they carry out their daily duties.