A GP’s surgery in Bedford has made the decision to employ a security guard on its premises to protect its staff and patients from an increasing number of verbal and physical threats.
The Putnoe Medical Centre is located on Queens Drive and is also home to the Putnoe Walk-in Centre.
In a statement on their website today, the practice explained that with immediate effect, they will be employing a security guard from 8am – 3pm when they are at their busiest.
The statement said: “Unfortunately, in recent weeks our staff and patients have experienced several very unpleasant episodes where they have been threatened both verbally and physically by patients attending the Practice and the Walk-In Centre. This is a sad reflection on a small part of our community.
“Everyone has a right to work and be cared for in an environment that does not cause upset, offence and potentially physical harm.
“The Partners are therefore employing a Security Guard from 8am-3pm (during the Walk-In Centre opening hours) when we are at our busiest. We hope this deterrent will improve patient behaviour and keep everyone safe.”
A patient at the surgery told the Bedford Independent: “This is a shocking and very sad development – Putnoe Medical centre is an excellent, well-run facility and no doubt all staff are under pressure like every other health facility.
“That the practice feels the need to employ what is a basically a bodyguard is a sad indictment on modern society – not something you’d readily expect in Bedford.
“But the top and bottom of it is no one should be threatened with any kind of harm at work and the group clearly feel the staff here need protection.”
Health portfolio holder at Bedford Borough Council, Cllr Louise Jackson said: “I’m saddened to hear that Putnoe Walk-in centre has needed to take this course of action for the protection of staff and patients.
“There is absolutely no excuse for threatening behaviour.”