Nearly half a million pounds is being spent by Devon hospitals on private security after an increase in assaults on NHS staff. A Freedom of Information request has shown the largest spend was at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust which spends an average of £250,000 a year as its staff are assaulted 141 times per year. At the time of the request it said it was unable to provide an exact figure of how much it spent in 2017/18. Between March 2014 and April 2018 staff at the trust have been physically assaulted 562 times, making an average of 141 assaults per year. The Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital spent £45,933. However, it was significantly less than the previous year when the figure was £75,967. Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust did not share their private security costs, but the number of physical assaults was 124 in 2017/18, compared with 87 the previous year. Andrew Davies, head of facilities at university Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, said: “The trust has a long term 10 year contract in place with its external services partner Indigo, which includes the provision of security services. “This includes the following:
- Provision, upgrade, management and maintenance of all CCTV and Access control systems across the Trust’s estate.
- Provision of a full time site based engineer whose responsibilities include ensuring that all security systems are fully operational at all times.
- Provision of two licenced security officers at Derriford Hospital 24/7.
- Provision of building security, key holding and intruder alarm response out of hours.