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'Guards control dementia patients'

Published 05/05/2015

Some NHS hospitals use security guards to control dementia patients, new figures show
Some NHS hospitals use security guards to control dementia patients, new figures show

Security guards are being called in to help control dementia patients in some NHS hospitals, new figures show.

Seventeen of 42 NHS hospital trusts in England revealed that their security teams had helped to deal with dementia patients, sometimes physically restraining them, according to data obtained through Freedom of Information requests by the Daily Mail.

In total in 2012-13 and 2013-14, guards at the 42 trusts responded to calls for help with 5,722 patients, including 320 recorded as having dementia, while 20 people had been injured.

A former Liberal Democrat mental health minister said the figures showed that more training and understanding of the disease was needed.

Paul Burstow told the paper: "If the distress and confusion often associated with dementia is routinely managed through physical restraint rather than skilled care that is completely unacceptable.

"Every nurse and doctor should be trained to offer the best care to people with dementia, and hospitals who rely on security staff rather than healthcare staff to treat the most vulnerable should be held to account."

The paper reported security staff also helped restrain patients under the influence of alcohol or who had mental health or medical issues which altered their behaviour, while 13 trusts did not record why guards were called.

In total 76 of all 160 NHS hospital trusts in England responded and of those four said they banned security teams handling patients under any circumstances.

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