WHETHER it’s escorting staff to their cars late at night, sorting out difficult situations or calming confused and agitated patients, the hospital’s security team have a critical role to play.

In April 2015, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust decided to create an in-house full-time security department, having until then relied on contractors.

“The team includes six others forming a cross section of different skills and experience: ex-police, government, health and safety and stewarding,” says team leader Martin Plastow, who has 30 years’ experience in the security industry.

“We provide security across a 24-hour shift rota and our role revolves around staff, patients and visitors being safe while being friendly, responsible and professional in our delivery.

“We assist all staff across the site if they have a security concern – it might be dealing with difficult patients, or escorting staff to their car late at night at the end of a shift.

“We also keep an eye out for any form of criminal behaviour such as damage or theft. The site includes the wards, outlying buildings, the grounds and car parks.”

Each security guard is trained in conflict resolution.

“We aim to prevent something before it happens,” Martin says.

“A department like A&E can be a hotspot at certain times of the week such as Friday and Saturday nights.

“We deal with confused and agitated patients for whatever reason, it could be a detoxification from alcohol or drugs or assisting patients with dementia.

“We are here to help staff and visitors alike. For example, there was recently a vehicle collision on the roads on site – we moved the visitors away from the scene, calmed them down and got them cups of tea.

“We also help with parking issues in the car park – if you have a flat battery or the car won’t start, we are there to get you on your way.

“One day is never the same – each day has its own challenges, but you can go away with a sense of satisfaction having completed the day well.”