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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 December 2006, 21:45 GMT
Hospital Pc's future under threat
Royal Cornwall Hospital
Police officers are needed to control abusive patients
The future of dedicated police officers based at a hospital in Cornwall are under threat.

Two full time officers are currently based at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro. They provide protection to nurses and hospital workers.

The move comes as part of the hospital's measures to claw back 31m of a predicted deficit.

Managers from the hospital will be meeting with the police on Thursday to discuss the plan.

Sue Matthews, from the Royal College of Nursing, said that if the plans were approved it would be too short notice for the staff.

They [drunk people] are not prepared to wait and they just abuse nursing staff, consultants and anyone basically within ear-shot
Malcolm Dunstan

"Staff need to be made aware of any changes in security arrangements.

"Whilst there is a private security company on the Royal Cornwall Hospital side providing 24-hour cover, visible policing has been a great asset, particularly in the acute areas in the accident and emergency departments."

Malcolm Dunstan, an ex-policeman who served three years at the hospital in Treliske, said police officers were needed at the hospital to prevent assaults and verbal abuse, with drunks the worst offenders.

"They [drunk people] are not prepared to wait and they just abuse nursing staff, consultants and anyone basically within ear-shot and of course it is very upsetting to other patients," he said.

"There are only certain powers that the security staff have - they can contain people until the police arrive but obviously a police officer's presence in the first instance, we would hope, would stop the problem.

"With the greatest of respect to the security team, who do a first class job, they do not have the immediate impact which a police officer has."

Hewitt says hospital to stay open
14 Nov 06 |  Cornwall
Hospital bosses plan 7m savings
07 Nov 06 |  Cornwall
Watchdog warns of ward closures
27 Oct 06 |  Cornwall

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