Staying Safe When Lone Working for the NHS – Top 5 Tips
Staying safe when working for the NHS is important as the people of the UK depend on the valuable national health service and the people who work for it. Unfortunately, NHS staff can be in quite risky situations or end up being harmed, sometimes intentionally and sometimes through patients who are unwell.
So how can people who are working for the NHS keep themselves safe? Read on for the hazards of working in the NHS and our top five tips to reduce those hazards.
What Are the Hazards of Lone Working for the NHS?
Depending on what job you do for the NHS, the risks could be quite different. This article will focus on staff deemed most ‘at risk’, such as paramedics or occupational therapists who visit people in the community.
The biggest threat to NHS staff is the threat of violence, physical and verbal. The rise in figures of attacks on NHS staff is well documented and comes in many forms. The most at risk staff, are those who face the public the most often. Ambulance staff and community nurses, but also staff in critical hospital departments such as A+E.
Attacks on staff usually come down to two reasons; alcohol or patients who have mental health problems. The range and severity of attacks are very varied and can range from verbal abuse to physical attacks.
Protecting staff from violence and putting measures in place to deal with such incidents is a top priority for the NHS. Just last year a new zero-tolerance policy was introduced.
Top 5 Tips for Staying Safe in the NHS
- Stay alert – one of the biggest skills someone working in the NHS must learn is how to know when something is wrong. Having a ‘gut feeling’ about something or a person is a great way to try and head off any danger before an incident even happens.
- Use a lone worker device – even if NHS staff are not working alone, having a dedicated lone worker device provides a quick and easy way to raise an alert should a situation escalate.
- Use concealed ID badge style lone worker devices – for staff working in the community, a concealed lone worker device, hidden away behind an ID badge is a great way to have protection close to hand but not visible to patients.
- Work in pairs – it isn’t always possible but if a situation is risky then try to work in pairs. For example, paramedics entering properties where incidents have happened previously or community nurses visiting patients known to be a risk.
- Take regular breaks – tiredness makes you less alert and aware of your surroundings. Try to schedule in regular breaks to have some food and a drink.