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Thursday 27th June 2019

A&E departments get facelift

28th February 2011

Three hospitals are participating in a project which will attempt to cut crime in A&E departments by using improved design solutions.


Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust, Chesterfield Royal Hospital and Guys' and St Thomas' London are all taking part in the scheme, which will see designers and architects working with health service staff and patients.

A team in each hospital will decide which design changes to implement, in order to try and improve the safety of A&E departments.

The designers will be chosen as part of a competition run by the Design Council.

According to a NHS survey, 11% of health service workers had been physically assaulted by patients or their relatives in the precious year.

Data for 2008/09 revealed that 150 assaults occurred every day and the total number of assaults in England came to 56,718.

The health service is estimated to pay out around £69 million annually to cover the cost of staff absence caused by physical assaults and aggressive behaviour.

Fiona Hoskins, divisional head of nursing for A&E at Southampton General Hospital said that that A&E departments were "a bit of a pressure cooker".

"Patients are in an unfamiliar environment, they don't know what's going on - they see nurses call patients and get impatient for their turn, but they don't understand that we have to see people according to their need."

Professor Matthew Cooke, national clinical director for urgent and emergency care at the Department of Health said: "Verbal abuse is a daily occurrence and unfortunately physical violence against staff is not rare."

He added that improving design would contribute to reducing aggressive behaviour and assaults and the scheme would improve safety for workers.


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