Hartlepool hospital chief's plea to help keep staff safe after rising violence against medics and the shocking killing of Pc Andrew Harper
The boss of a health trust has appealed for emergency service workers to be allowed to work safely after the murder of a policeman which shocked the country.
Julie Gillon, the chief executive of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, issued the plea to the public to respect all emergency service staff following the death of 28-year-old Pc Andrew Harper in Berkshire last week.
Last year, the health trust, which runs the university hospitals of Hartlepool and North Tees, in Stockton, witnessed almost 300 incidents of violence, an increase on the previous year.
Ms Gillon, a former nurse, said: “Last week brought home to all who work in the emergency services once more what staff on the front line face day-to-day.
“In the midst of trying to keep a safe, flourishing, healthy and functioning society – our workforce faces unprecedented pressures.
“Our Trust works daily in collaboration with the ambulance, fire, police and coast guard services. We work as part of wider community with the aim creating a brighter future for Teesside and the surrounding areas.
“This partnership means we are intrinsically linked to one another – the safety and well-being of all staff who work within these organisations is of the utmost importance for all of us.
“Our workforce needs to be able to ‘get on with their jobs’ – keeping people safe and healthy without unnecessary hindrance.
“All that any of us ask for is that we can deliver our services safely and with respect.
“Our thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of Pc Harper at this time.”
Last year, the Trust saw violence against staff reach its highest level in five years, with one in seven health professionals attacked in the workplace.
In 2017, 15.2% of staff within the Trust experienced physical violence from patients.
There were 275 reported incidents of violence that year, rising to 296 in 2018.
It coincided with Health Secretary Matt Hancock announcing the UK’s first ever NHS violence reduction strategy with a zero tolerance approach.
Last year the Trust introduced a hard hitting campaign featuring the children of staff within the Trust appealing to visitors to ‘keep my relative safe’.