Wards locked by North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust due to drug dealing at hospital site
Hospital patients across Hartlepool and North Tees could see locks fitted on their wards as a clampdown on illegal drug misuse.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has already fitted locks on two wards at its Stockton site to make sure staff can monitor suspicious behaviour – with some saying they have already witnessed drug deals first hand on site.
In a stark warning, the Trust has warned families that it may have to extend the security practice across the rest of its sites to keep patients and staff safe.
Julie Lane, Chief Nurse and Director of Patient Safety and Quality has spoken about the precautions taken by the Trust team to bring the misuse of illegal drugs on hospital sites under control.
She said: “We have struggled with issues surrounding drug addiction with some of our patients for some time now. We have worked exceptionally hard to support ending the problem before we decided to take this action.
“We have staff who have witnessed drug deals first hand on site, so we have been sharing available CCTV with the local police force as we try to tackle it.
“We will not compromise on the safety of all of our patients, staff and those within our hospital sites.”
Julie Gillon, Chief Executive for the organisation has backed the move and vowed to challenge the health inequalities that contribute to high drug use across the Trust area.
She added: “Our hospitals are in some of the most deprived areas not only in the North East, but in England.
“Our population deserve so much more. It is my personal aim, with partners across our system to work towards positive transformation.
“It’s disappointing to have reached the point that we must put locks on our ward doors, but patient safety is at the heart of what we deliver.”
Figures show that there have been an average of two drug-related incidents per month within the Trust in 2019 and five malicious assaults acts committed against staff, which were reported to police.