Morriston Hospital ASBO referrals for abusive patients and visitors
SENIOR nurses at Morriston Hospital's accident and emergency department are issuing Asbo referrals to patients and visitors who cause disruption through their unruly or abusive behaviour.
Over the last four months A&E lead nurse Andrea Bradley has issued around 20 of the notices in a bid to protect other patients and staff from unacceptable abuse and rowdiness.
The referrals are the first step in issuing a full antisocial behaviour order against offenders.
The nurse said that the vast majority of patients and visitors at Morriston behaved in a positive and responsible way — but a minority could be very disruptive, and such behaviour would not be tolerated.
She said: "Each week I review any recent incidents to see if they merit an Asbo being issued.
"I take into account whether the patient's illness or condition could be a reason for the behaviour, or if a patient or visitor was likely to be very stressed or frightened because of their individual circumstances.
"These cases would not be suitable for Asbos, and I'm very sensitive to this. But if an incident was caused by drunkenness resulting in abusive or aggressive behaviour, then they will get an Asbo referral."
Recent examples which resulted in the notices being issued have included a patient who not only took his frustrations out on a vending machine but then smeared his faeces on a wall.
In another case a patient tried to head-butt a nurse who was taking his blood pressure.
Other examples of misconduct have included fighting in the waiting area and being verbally abusive to staff.
Ms Bradley said: "I'm not prepared to allow other patients and staff to have to put up with unacceptable behaviour like this."
Meanwhile earlier this month the Welsh Ambulance Service renewed its pledge to protect staff against violence and aggression from patients.
In the past 12 months there were more than 260 such incidents recorded against its staff — and bosses warned they have a "zero-tolerance" approach to offenders and will pursue prosecutions.
The ambulance service teamed up with local health boards, the four Welsh police forces and the Crown Prosecution Service to launch the fresh crackdown on people who abuse emergency staff.