A CRACKDOWN on violence and disorder against staff and patients at the Royal Bolton Hospital has been hailed a success.

The Royal Bolton was the first hospital in the UK to reduce disorder and violence against staff in accident and emergency by taking part in a pilot scheme more than seven years ago.

It involved training staff to issue fixed penalty notices to people causing disruption.

If they were issued with the notice, those responsible for unruly behaviour faced an £80 fine.

Sue Beswick, matron in A&E at Royal Bolton Hospital, said: “We have a good security presence in the evening and overnight but it reassures other patients other visitors that we are taking it seriously and that it’s not something we want to tolerate.”

She added staff will challenge anti-social behaviour, such as swearing and shouting, by approaching the person and asking them to stop.

If the person continues then a fixed penalty notice will be issued.

Once the form has been filled out explaining what happened during the incident A&E staff send the notice to security staff who then liaise with police.

Officers make the judgement call about whether a fine should be issued. Mrs Beswick said: “I think it does reassure staff.

“The fact that if somebody does behave in that way we know there’s a process there. We don’t accept this sort of behaviour. It is like we have a back-up.” First and foremost as healthcare workers is to treat the patient with whatever they present us with.

“Obviously sometimes people behave in this manner and it’s related to the illness they present, not everybody is purposefully behaving in that way but obviously there’s a category of people that do.”

Posters around A&E warn people of the risks they face if they misbehave. Police are also present in A&E at busy times of the year, including Christmas and New Year.

The amount of notices given out fluctuates with some months only one being issued and other months more people receive them.

Other hospitals are believed to have followed in the footsteps of Royal Bolton Hospital to protect staff.

Tony Lloyd, police and crime commissioner for Greater Manchester, said: “Attacking, abusing and intimidating NHS staff is completely unacceptable — and all right-thinking people would be disgusted that this happens at all, but sadly it’s an all too common occurrence in hospitals up and down the land.

“No nurse or doctor I’ve ever met wants to issue a fine when they are administering care, so I’m sure it’s only ever used as a last resort at the Royal Bolton Hospital. But used sparingly it is an effective deterrent which hopefully gets the simple message out that our wonderful hospital staff deserve to be treated in one way only — with the utmost of respect.”