The first few hundred nurses and other health service lone workers have been trained in the use of new personal safety alarms, according to the NHS Security Management Service.
The NHS SMS announced in May that 30,000 lone workers would finally start to receive alarms this year. They have been promised by ministers for several years – most recently by former health secretary Alan Johnson.
Sue Frith, deputy head of NHS SMS, said: ‘The new system provides NHS members of staff with a service that they can use to signal discreetly for assistance should they feel vulnerable or distressed when working alone.
‘The new comprehensive training package makes sure NHS staff are fully equipped to make good use of this system,’ she added.
Among those to have received training so far are 60 staff from St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust in south London, and also staff from Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust in Kent.
A community midwife from the Kent trust was positive about the move. ‘We weren’t sure what it would be like, but the new lone worker system is really helpful,’ she said.
‘I’ll feel a lot safer knowing I have told someone where my destination is, and can use them if there is a problem. You do feel safer, definitely,’ she added.