Shortage of medical cover for detainees
Posted: March 2, 2015
Posted in: Medical Negligence
A health worker in the east of England has warned that the lives of detainees in police custody are potentially being put at risk due to a shortage of medical staff. Where previously there was one doctor per county, the situation now is that there is one doctor to cover every custody suite in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, and another to cover Norfolk and Suffolk. Private company G4S gained the £5 million pound contract which commenced in April of this year and promptly halved the number of doctors on call. Many of the doctors have been replaced with healthcare professionals who have undergone additional training.
Struggling to cope
The health worker, who has chosen to stay anonymous, has claimed that staffing levels are so low that they are struggling to cope with the demand of the detainees. The health worker added that it is currently impossible to see everyone who needs to be seen because of a shortage of staff, and warned that it could end in someone being extremely unwell or dying whilst in custody.
They went on to say that staff has been known to break down in tears due to being overworked and being met with the hostility of police officers who are having to wait for them.
Independent Custody Visitor at King’s Lynn police station in Norfolk, Trudie Needham, has said that the distances that people are being expected to travel is “huge” and it is unreasonable to expect someone to attend a patient in King’s Lynn if they are attending to someone else in Great Yarmouth.
There are currently 50 full-time professionals and 16 more being trained according to G4S.
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