Keeping his cool vital for hospital security guard
Hillingdon Hospital security guard Dave McCool often finds himself challenged to live up to his name. HANNAH RAVEN met the man keeping order on the wards and corridors
DAVE McCool, 57, has been punched, kicked, pinned to the wall and wrestled to the ground in his job at the borough’s main hospital, in Pield Heath Road.
Dave is a reassuring sight for staff, especially in A&E where he is often called to calm aggressive or difficult patients.
“You have to be firm but calm, even when people are being abusive,” says the 57-year-old father of one.
“Someone might have drunk too much, be upset about the waiting time or have mental health problems and decide to take it out on staff.
“You do become an expert at reading body language so can often predict what people are going to do. I’ve found the more verbal they are the less likely it is to get physical.”
He is part of a six-strong team responsible for keeping the peace on the 27-acre site, as well as ensuring the hospital’s maze of rooms and buildings are secure after hours.
He says the community spirit of the hospital is something he still enjoys after 30 years, despite the confrontations, adding: “I live opposite the hospital so I bump into a lot of people I know.”
The size of the hospital, which includes more than 30 buildings, means the team cannot be everywhere.
They keep an eye on things with the help of TV monitors hooked up to more than 65 cameras.
They also look after the hospital’s lost property which includes the predictable keys, mobile phones and wallets – and lots of walking sticks.
Not only does Dave enjoy the community side of his job, he also says it keeps him fit.
He often walks miles every day around the hospital grounds.
“I’ve spent most of my working life here so I am attached to it. We all have our moments but I wouldn’t have stayed if I didn’t like it,” he added.
n VIGILANT: Security guard Dave McCool