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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 June, 2004, 12:49 GMT 13:49 UK
NHS staff call for A&E security
West Suffolk Hospital
Medical staff call for protection against violent patients
Doctors and nurses at a hospital's emergency department are demanding that security staff are brought in to protect them from violent patients.

Workers at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds say patients are becoming increasingly threatening.

In the past porters would also act as security guards but the hospital has scrapped the practise.

But a West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust spokesman says the number of assaults on staff has fallen.

Inappropriate restraint

Some doctors and nurses say the violence is getting out of hand, but others say they are getting used to it.

Doctor Vikram Raju said: " I've had two experiences of abuse in the last six months, one on-call and one aggressive patient. But it's all part of the job."

The trust says in the past porters had been trained to restrain violent patients but the practice was stopped after a report into the death of David Bennett at Norvic Clinic, Norwich, in 2002.

An inquest heard nurses used inappropriate restraint on Mr Bennett.

A trust survey shows the number of deliberate assaults on staff at the trust has fallen from 30 during 2002/03 to just seven for 2003/04.

The trust says it has 43 panic alarms throughout the trust, CCTV cameras and regular police patrols.

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