Police on patrol in casualty; Bid to cut down on violence.
A HOSPITAL department is to have its own police to cut violent attacks on patients and staff.
Aggressive behaviour from weekend drunks prompted the action from bosses at Whiston.
Now officers will be stationed at the hospital's accident and emergency department for the forseeable future.
Operation Formant is aimed at protecting staff and patients from people who are drunk, violent and abusive.
Suzanne Hinchliffe, deputy chief executive of St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust, said the decision would improve services as well as increasing security.
She said: "Having a member of the police force present in the emergency department will allow the clinical staff to focus on treating patients in a safe and calm environment.
"Patients who attend the emergency department need to be treated by clinicians who are not distracted by members of the public.
"The well-being of our staff, patients and visitors is our top priority"
Sgt Ian Noble of Merseyside police said officers would be stationed at the hospital as part of a wider crackdown on anti-social crime in the Prescot and Whiston area.
He said: "Operation Formant has been designed to tackle anti-social behaviour covering all aspects from violence to vehicle crime.
"This extends to our hospitals.
"Providing a police officer every weekend to work in the emergency department with the clinical staff is a continuous high visibility presence within which will ensure the safety of staff, patients and visitors who visit the site."
Around 100,000 people are treated at Whiston's A&E each year.
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VIOLENCE CRACKDOWN: Whiston hospital A&E dept