University Hospital Kerry (UHK) in conjunction with An Garda Síochána have launched a Hospital Watch scheme to cut crime in the hospital.

Launched on Tuesday of this week, the new scheme will enhance security for both staff and visitors.

The ‘Hospital Watch’ will combine proactive crime prevention measures and seek the public’s co-operation with issues affecting staff and patients in relation to security and safety in hospitals. As part of the ‘Hospital Watch’, a policy will be implemented by hospital management and staff to raise an awareness of crime, the fear of crime and provides ways of reducing crime on its premises.

A multidisciplinary Hospital Watch committee has been formed and Garda Cathy Murphy from Tralee station has been appointed as the Hospital Watch Liaison Garda.

The new scheme will include enhanced CCTV cover, new and more-regulated visiting hours and restricted access to wards outside of visiting hours.

Meanwhile the Kerry branch of the Psychiatric Nurses Association announced that a new four-bed High Observation Unit (called the Brandon Suite) attached to the Acute Admission Unit will open next Tuesday.

The opening of the €2 million special purpose unit will greatly help in the treatment and management of residents with episodes of challenging and disturbed behaviour and ensure a safer and more secure environment for both residents and staff at the unit, Jamie Kelly, PNA Rep, Kerry explained.

“The Close Observation Brandon Unit will have three staff nurses assigned by day and two staff nurses assigned by night.”

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