Insp. Aidan Higgins
investigation last year revealed that Hairmyres workers were attacked in the line of duty 605 times over a three-year period. Insp. Higgins said: “Police officers in Wishaw are working with NHS Lanarkshire in a joint effort to improve how all partners support those with mental health or addiction issues who are reported missing from the hospital. “The purpose is to identify where improvements can be made in responding to missing person incidents, particularly from the emergency department. “Currently two officers from the local problem solving team are working to test the concept of police officers being deployed in University Hospital Wishaw. “Initial data gathered from all involved has shown improvements in practices and communication between everyone as relationships are being established.
“The test is due to be extended to University Hospital Monklands before an evaluation will be shared. There are currently no plans to extend the pilot to Hairmyres.
“An assessment will be made of the impact of the pilot by both Police Scotland Lanarkshire Division and NHS Lanarkshire on its conclusion.”
He added: “Any opportunities for Police Scotland and NHS Lanarkshire to work closer together to benefit the local community and vulnerable people should be explored.
“If the scheme is assessed as being of value and consequently rolled out across NHS Lanarkshire hospitals I would welcome a similar scheme at Hairmyres.”
Wishaw’s area commander, Chief Inspector Mark Leonard, revealed that 177 hours of police time was spent at the area’s acute hospital in 2016/17.
Wishaw PCs Craig Buchanan and Scott Aird have now settled into their new hospital ‘beat’ and have been pleased with the response from the public and staff.
NHS Lanarkshire did not wish to comment at this time.