We all know that one of the greatest assets in any health service is the people who work there. Every day in the UK, staff across the NHS deal with people who are in pain and aim to make lives better. But many of them face risks in their everyday work practice. These risks are especially acute for NHS lone workers – and that’s why they need special protection.
Identifying NHS lone worker risks
As we often reiterate, lone workers are sometimes surrounded by people. What defines their lone worker status is whether they have immediate access to support from colleagues and managers. More than for many other sectors, NHS lone workers will often be working with the public. And they’ll often be dealing with people who have support needs or are themselves vulnerable, which can put lone workers at risk of unpredictable behaviour. Workers who visit clients or service users in their homes, such as district nurses or community health workers, may need help in dealing with difficult clients.
But there are some lone workers who at first glance are not at risk. Even in a busy GP practice, there will be lone workers. Indeed, during each one of their consultations, a GP is effectively a lone worker. With the door closed, they are out of sight and hearing of colleagues. Similarly, even in a larger healthcare facility such as a hospital, there will be times when workers are operating alone. From security guards to hospital porters, there’s lots of time out of direct contact with colleagues.
NHS lone workers mitigating risks with training and support
There are a number of steps which NHS employers take to safeguard their lone workers. It will often be a question of getting the training right, whether it’s conflict management or self-defence. Having a toolkit of skills to call upon in the face of violence and abuse will certainly make their situation safer. From active listening and empathy, through to reading body language and maintaining a neutral posture, NHS lone workers can defuse tensions when needed.
One other key element which should be part of NHS lone workers’ toolkit is a lone worker safety system. When things do get tricky, Safe Hub helps healthcare lone workers in a crisis. Lone Worker Solutions already has a number of healthcare clients, providing lone worker safety to the sector. You can read our case study about our work with Locala Community Partnerships here (https://www.loneworkersolutions.com/case-study-locala).
Procuring Safe Hub within the NHS Framework
We’re proud to be part of the NHS Supply Chain Framework, which came into effect in September 2018. The 2-year programme is available to the NHS, private-sector healthcare providers, and the wider public sector. The intention is to make procurement of lone worker safety services a simple, quick and efficient process.
NHS Trusts and other healthcare providers will be able to access the full range of our apps and devices within the Safe Hub system. Specifically, our SOS Fob device was chosen within the personal safety alarms product category. All our services are certified to BS8484:2016 standards and hold the coveted Secured by Design award. Healthcare providers choose either the non-direct or direct procurement route. In each case, we commit to offering the lowest possible pricing for healthcare providers to access our services, whether they choose to lease or purchase our devices. All so that employers can protect their NHS lone workers – and ensure they can go about their work to make lives better.
Contact Lone Worker Solutions and the Safe Hub team today
Post by Georgia Parsons
Georgia is Account Executive at Lone Worker Solutions (LWS). She introduces new clients to Safe Hub, our award-winning system to protect and monitor lone workers. Safe Hub is a package of buddy, proactive, reactive, broadcast and virtual barrier protection for lone workers. The system supports lone and remote workers on the widest possible array of BS8484:2016 Gold Certified devices, including Android, Apple and Windows smartphones, BlackBerrys, standard mobiles, PCs, intrinsically safe devices, specialist personal safety devices and satellite phones.