Hull UK March 21 2017 Security guards are being fitted with body cameras at Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill after more than 1,000 attacks on doctors, nurses and hospital staff.
Doctors, nurses, receptionists and hospital staff have been spat at, bitten, racially abused and had their faces gouged by patients, relatives and visitors.
Now, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is warning anyone caught on camera attacking or abusing an NHS worker anywhere in either hospital will be subjected to the full force of the law and hauled before the courts.
Edward McGee, security contracts manager at the trust, said: "I'm appalled by some of the things I've seen.
"Staff have been scratched, bitten, punched, kicked, been gouged at and spat on. And these assaults are recorded across the spectrum, not just in A&E.
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"Behaviour of this kind will not be tolerated and we will pursue every conceivable chance of prosecution.
"Our staff are here to help and treat people. They are not here to be abused and assaulted."
Figures show 1,045 assaults have taken place at Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill since 2011/12. The number of attacks peaked in 2013/14, when 249 assaults took place.
Although assaults had dropped to 174 in 2015/16, there have been 233 assaults in the past year.
Of those, 167 were classed as "clinical assaults" where a patient assaulted a member of staff because of a medical condition such as dementia, hallucinations or an adverse reaction to medication.
However, 66 were assaults not linked to a person's illness.
Mr McGee said 14 body cameras are now in operation, warning signs have been placed around the hospital and the trust has teamed up with Humberside Police and Hull City Council to gather evidence against those abusing staff.
As well as prosecuting anyone assaulting staff, anti-social behaviour warning letters are being sent to people caught shouting, swearing or racially abusing staff, with more than 50 sent out to January alone.
Mr McGee said staff were reporting anti-social behaviour on the trust's internal Datix reporting system with security staff using the information to send warning letters to perpetrators about their conduct.
Evidence will then be passed onto Humberside Police and Hull City Council as intelligence, with the real possibility of people being banned from both hospitals as part of future antisocial behaviour orders.
If the offender has a drink or drugs-related problem, the authorities will take action to get them help.
"We have had one member of the public receiving a letter and they rang up to say they were really sorry for their behaviour, that it was totally out of character and it will never happen again," said Mr McGee.
"That's proved its worth. All we're asking is people, when they come into hospital, to please treat us with the respect with which we treat you."
All staff using the cameras have received hospital conflict resolution training to the standard laid down by NHS Protect and have security industry licences to ensure they have the skills to diffuse dangerous situations.
Security staff will now be trained in using the body cameras fitted to their uniforms, activating them as soon as they witness a situation with the potential to spill over into violence against staff.
As well as the footage being used in future prosecutions through the courts, it will also be used in the monthly training sessions for security staff, showing them real-life examples of what they could face on the frontline.
Mr McGee said those guilty of violence against staff represented a tiny minority of the tens of thousands attending East Yorkshire's hospitals.
He said: "We want to reassure people that Hull Royal and Castle Hill are not violent places. We do have times, like everywhere else, when there is violence but people shouldn't be worried about coming here.
"Our priority is the safety of our staff, patients and visitors and we will take as many proactive steps as possible to prevent assaults or other acts of violence taking place."