Interview with Johan Celliers, Security Manager for Southwest Yorkshire Partnership NHS Trust
30 Nov 2023
Pinpoint’s staff safety systems are installed in NHS organisations across the UK as a means to protect healthcare workers at risk in the workplace.
One of these organisations is the Southwest Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health services in Calderdale, Kirklees, Wakefield and Barnsley.
We spoke to Johan Celliers, the Security Advisor for Southwest Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, about the importance of advanced staff safety systems to address the increasing rates of aggression toward NHS staff.
Where did you first learn about Pinpoint?
It was in 2007 when we had a request for staff alarms to be installed at one of our inpatient mental health units. There had been an increase in incidents within our own organisation that needed addressing, and Pinpoint was called in to help. Back then, I was unaware that this type of safety system existed, even though I had worked in health & safety for a couple of years.
It was during 2009 that I got more involved in Pinpoint’s staff attack systems, as my role changed to a more dedicated security function.
Why is it important that hospitals and mental health facilities have high-performance safety systems in place?
Under our Duty of Care and Health and Safety at Work legislation, organisations have a responsibility to create a safe working environment for their staff. Procedures and systems are part of the control measures identified in risk assessments to address risks concerning aggression within our work environments.
Pinpoint’s staff safety systems are not only used for emergency incidents but can also be used to summon assistance for low level incidents such as falls on the ward, or as a nurse call system. These systems provide staff with the reassurance that support can be summoned at all times and even across different wards.
Why did Southwest Yorkshire Trust need safety alarm systems installed?
As far as I know, the Southwest Yorkshire Trust was one of the first organisations to use Pinpoint’s staff attack system in our forensics units as a trial. The need for the security alarm system was originally identified by staff on mental health wards who had experienced an increase in levels of violence from patients. The Trust requires a reliable security system that would allow staff to call on response teams during a potentially violent incident.
The concerns around staff safety and the introduction of staff safety systems also forced us to look at various other elements of security in the ward setting. As a result, we improved our procedures, training, and access control points throughout hospitals.
What are the repercussions of violence toward NHS staff?
The repercussions of such incidents are wide ranging - from staff absenteeism, stress, staff shortages, injury to staff, low morale, and even driving healthcare workers out of the health sector. Additionally, it can lead to increased costs to the organisation to cover for sickness and overtime due to staff absence and shortages.
The NHS is acutely aware of the issues staff face. The NHS and NHS organisations like the Southwest Yorkshire Partner Trust are constantly reviewing and introducing new methods to address anti-social behaviour directed at staff.
How have the staff attack systems benefited the staff & patients?
The systems provide reassurance to staff that they can summon help in emergency situations. We have also used the systems to provide reassurance to individuals who are experiencing anxiety within the ward environment.
Pinpoint also now offers a dedicated nurse call system that we installed in all of our ensuite bedrooms to allow patients to summon help should they need it.
What needs to be done to improve the safety of staff in NHS trusts?
There is not a single solution, but it includes cost-effective staff safety systems like those offered by Pinpoint, thorough risk assessments, staff training on management strategies, training on the use of security systems and awareness of the procedures around the staff attack systems. Combined, this will help to make our places safer for both staff and service users.
Many thanks to Johan for contributing to this blog.
Do your staff safety systems need reviewing? Book a call with one of our consultants here.