Police called to Warrington GP surgeries 72 times in past three years

Police called to Warrington GP surgeries 72 times in past year

Police called to Warrington GP surgeries 72 times in past year

First published in News
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VIOLENCE, harassment and adults fighting are just some of the incidents police were called to at the town’s surgeries and Warrington Hospital in the past 12 months.

A Warrington Guardian Freedom of Information request found officers had been called 72 times to GP practices across the town in the last three years.

During the same period, Cheshire Police were called to Warrington Hospital on Lovely Lane more than 1,600 times however a large proportion of those calls were due to sudden deaths where the police are alerted to ensure there are no suspicious circumstances.

Incidents included burglaries, anti-social behaviour, concerns for safety or welfare, thefts, a missing person, an illegal immigrant, preventing a ‘potential breach of the peace’, possession of drugs, a bail breach and wanted person, criminal damage and two incidents involving pets but no further details could be given.

In the last year, the surgeries police had to attend on the highest number of occasions were Longford street (four) and Padgate on Station Road (four).

The highest number overall was Dallam Lane Medical Centre where police were called out seven times in 2011, six in 2012 and three in 2013.

A spokesman for NHS England in Cheshire, Warrington and Wirral said violence or aggression from patients was ‘unacceptable’ and extra funding had been provided for a dedicated scheme to support patients to ‘learn how to behave appropriately’.

John Wicks, interim chief officer of Warrington CCG, said: “Thankfully, the police are infrequently called to violent incidents at an average GP surgery.

‘’If a doctor or a member of their staff is affected, NHS England has imposed a strict violent patient scheme where the patient is asked to attend appointments at a safe haven practice where both the members of staff and patient are protected from any further harm.”

In Warrington, the safe haven practice is Greenbank surgery which currently looks after 17 people on the scheme.

Dr Mike Northey, from the Manchester Road surgery, said: “I see all the patients on the safe haven scheme, which is usually two slots a week.

“The patients are escorted to the practice by two members of a security team.

“One member of the team waits outside and the other one comes into the appointment.

“Then we have a 30 minute appointment where we run through the normal discussions you would get in any appointment.

‘’I enjoy working with patients on the scheme. Some have complex social as well as physical and psychological problems, others are people who simply acted rashly on one occasion, but need the help from primary care that anyone could need.

“It’s quite unusual for the police to be called out to a GP practice generally.”

FIGURES have found a dramatic drop in the number of times police have been called to Warrington Hospital in the last three years.

In 2011, officers were called to 607 incidents but in 2013 calls dropped to 514.

Phil Sloan, head of security for the hospital, said they have been targeting violence and aggression towards staff by using an alert system which makes staff aware of potentially violent patients.

He added: “This has been made possible after a successful campaign to get staff to report incidents.

“To support staff in handling potentially volatile situations, we have increased the number of conflict resolution training sessions and the trust now has a resident police officer and a police community support officer on site.

“They have been a fantastic support to our team and definitely had an impact in reducing incidents of violence and aggression towards our staff and other members of the public.”

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