VIOLENCE against staff at Chesterfield Royal Hospital is to be tackled with a redesign of its accident and emergency department.
The hospital is one of three selected to have the unit remodelled in an NHS attempt to reduce the millions of pounds – and human cost – of physical attacks or verbal aggression against employees.
Statistics show there were 73 ‘violent and aggressive related’ incidents in the Royal’s A&E during 2010.
“People don’t come to work to be threatened or attacked – it’s very frightening,” said Bill Bailey, clinical director of emergency care and orthopaedics.
“The biggest thing can be the way it undermines staff confidence.
“As you can imagine violence is a problem throughout the NHS, A&E departments tend to be worse by their nature.
“I wouldn’t say Chesterfield is particularly bad compared with some inner city departments – we do have incidents.”
The Department of Health has commissioned the Design Council to search for teams to create safer and calmer A&E environments, with winning entries revealed in October.
Work could include measures such as creating ‘contained’ receptions so patients must obtain access to go further.
Mr Bailey said improving waiting facilities or information about treatment delays could also be options as a ”lack of information often fuels the fire of frustration.”
Other trusts to benefit include Guys and St Thomas’ in London, plus Southampton University. Asked why the Royal was chosen, Mr Bailey added: “It’s not because we’ve more violence.
“I think it’s because Chesterfield has a good track record in working with organisations like the Design Council and it’s very forward looking.”
Initial costs of the redesigns, to cover research, design and prototypes, will be £150,000.
What do you think about the hospital’s redesign plans?