Northampton General criticised for poor response to racial attack on staff member by patient

The hospital has been rapped in a report for failing to properly respond to the incident or help police in a timely way

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 11:34 am
Northampton General Hospital held a confidential internal review over its response to a security officer being attacked by a patient hurling racial slurs.
Northampton General Hospital held a confidential internal review over its response to a security officer being attacked by a patient hurling racial slurs.

Northampton General Hospital has apologised for failing to properly handle an incident where a patient attacked a security officer while hurling racial slurs.

A security officer in the trust's emergency department was reportedly subjected to a "racially aggravated attack" by a "combative and aggressive" patient in November 2019.

But an internal review has now condemned NGHT for "letting down" the member of staff and failing to investigate the attack or respond to police requests for information in time.

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Northampton General Hospital said it was "deeply sorry" for the distress caused to the member of staff.

The confidential review was revealed last week after it was leaked to the Health Service Journal.It concluded: “It is a fact that management have failed on several aspects, however, this is in regards to all staff and not isolated only to concerns raised by [the staff member].

"There is a case to answer regarding the failure to manage.”

The security officer in the case raised a grievance with the hospital six months after the attack in November 2019.

However, the review - which was carried out by a HR chief from neighbouring Kettering General - reported that the staff member was "let down" by the trust's failure to "respond appropriately", which failed to investigate the incident fully.

Further, the trust was condemned for "failing" to provide Northamptonshire Police crucial information despite requests.

The manager who was sent the police’s requests at the time reportedly apologised for missing them during the inquiry.

Northamptonshire Police later filed the case due to lack of evidence as none of the witnesses involved came forward.

The review concluded: “It is disappointing that, when triangulating evidence, that the records held within the [security] department were, at times, non-existent or could not be fully relied on as they also contradict what the witnesses said.”

Chief People Officer for NGH NHS Trust Mark Smith said: “We condemn racism in any form and we are deeply sorry for the distress caused to the member of staff and know we have more to do make improvements in this area.

"The Trust is committed to tackling racism in the workplace and we are working closely with our Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage Network colleagues, listening, involving and taking action on a number of initiatives to improve inclusivity and to ensure every member of staff feels safe and supported.”