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Man arrested after nurses attacked at Dorset County Hospital
A MAN was arrested after a terrifying ordeal on a hospital’s emergency ward when nurses were assaulted by a patient.
It is understood the late-night incident started in a toilet block and continued in the adjoining coronary care unit in front of frightened patients.
Police said they responded to a report of a man behaving aggressively who had been ‘swinging a drip stand around’.
Bosses at the Dorchester hospitalhave praised staff for the way they handled the situation.
A source said it was a terrifying episode for staff who had to confront a man and control him before police arrived.
The source claimed there was a long delay before police turned up but this has been denied by Dorset Police which said officers arrived within 10 minutes of a call being made and swiftly made an arrest.
A spokesman for Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust confirmed that an incident occurred at the hospital when staff members were assaulted by a patient.
She said: “It was frightening for both staff and patients and we are very proud of the way they coped with such a difficult situation.
“The incident was handled by department staff, managers and msecurity personnel until police arrived.
“The matter is now under police investigation so we are unable to comment any further about the details of what happened at this stage.”
The spokesman stressed a patient wouldn’t be taken away from the hospital by police unless they were deemed fit for discharge by medical staff.
Asked if the hospital was reviewing security arrangements in light of the attack, the spokesman said: “We’re not reviewing hospital security overall because of this but we are reviewing the incident to see whether we can learn anything from it and do anything differently in the future.”
Regional spokesman for nurses’ union the RCN Tracey Roberts said she was not aware of the incident but was not surprised given the increasing number of assaults on nurses generally.
She said: “Nurses have to deal with frightened and vulnerable people who are in pain, and sometimes people can be very difficult- you can imagine what staff have to deal with in accident and emergency on an average Friday night.
“But there’s a difference between nurses getting hurt as part of the job they do and being hurt because someone wants to maliciously attack them.
“It is shocking and I would expect employers to put safeguards in place to ensure staff are as least vulnerable as they can be given their environment and the people they are working with.”
She added: “I hope the nurses involved in this incident are alright, it must have been incredibly distressing for them.”
Public governor of the trust Michel Hooper-Immins said it was vital that staff were able to work without fear of being assaulted or being ill-treated.
He added: “Staff have to put up with a lot but they should be able to work safely.”
A spokesman for Dorset Police said: “Police were informed that a man was behaving aggressively towards staff at Dorset County Hospital.
“It was reported that he was swinging a drip stand around.
“Officers attended and arrested a 49-year-old man from London on suspicion of assault and criminal damage.
"He has been released on police bail until mid April.
“The victim, a 43-year-old woman from Weymouth sustained a minor injury to her neck and a 42-yearwoman from Poole sustained a minor injury to her arm.
"Two fire exit doors and a towel dispenser were found to have been damaged.”
The spokesman said the arrested man had been released on bail in connection with the incident.
The Trust running DCH says it has had very few serious incidents of staff being assaulted.
The trust participates in a scheme coordinated through NHS Protect, the NHS body providing guidance and advice around security management to all Trusts.
Incidents where staff are injured as a result of a violence or aggression are divided into clinical and nonclinical causes.
Clinical causes are where patients have a condition such as dementia or confusion.
Non-Clinical causes relate to incidents where the assailant had some form of insight or intent at the time the assault took place.
At DCH there were three (non-clinical) incidents in 2011/12 and to date this year there has four (nonclinical) incidents.