Report from The Covid Frontline

Chamber Covid19

We are pleased to have been featured in this summer’s Liverpool Chamber Well Connected Magazine.

Report from The Covid Frontline

On Monday 10th May, the Office of National Statistics published the sobering news that security officers have one of the highest death rates from Covid19 – 45.7 deaths per 100,000 people.

At Liverpool Chamber members – GSTS, a major employer of security officers, this was extremely worrying news. Dave Potts CEO explains, “As an organisation we had been doing everything we possibly could to protect the wellbeing of our people during the pandemic. This news was a shock to us and more so, for those officers on our NHS contracts having to deal directly with Covid19 patients.”

Specialising in the healthcare sector GSTS supplies over 50 officers to two major South Manchester hospitals. As well as responding to day to day security and safety, GSTS officers assist clinicians in dealing with patients who may have challenging personal or mental health issues or do not have the capacity to make decisions for themselves. As a last resort officers may have to restrain patients for their own safety or the safety of hospital staff. During the pandemic demand for GSTS services has risen by 250%.

The added complication of persons who may have been infected by Covid19 has meant that GSTS officers have had to draw upon every ounce of their training. Dave explains;

“We are extremely proud to be the only security company in the country who has an accredited Enhanced Supervision training course. This is accredited by Liverpool based Open Awards. This course is delivered by our specialist training team comprising mental health professionals and crisis and conflict resolution experts. We also train a version of the National Police Decision Making Model. All in all, we consider our officers to be the best equipped in the UK.”

Jack Ford one of GSTS’s Supervisors in Manchester explains what it’s like to be on the Covid19 frontline, “At the start of the pandemic I ensured I was first to deal with any patient that was Covid19 or query Covid19. I didn’t want to put any officer in immediate danger. There were the implications of extra PPE and the time taken to ensure that PPE is worn correctly. This can impact how we deal with a patient but can also allow for extra planning and thinking time to assess the situation.”

Jack is appreciative of his training, “The de-escalation techniques that we have learnt have ensured that 9 out of 10 situations can be solved without the need of ‘a hands-on approach’. We use techniques approved by the NHS ensuring that patient safety is paramount. Without these, along with effective use of the Decision-Making Model this uncertain time would have been a lot more stressful for all officers, patients, and hospital staff. Knowing we have the right training to effectively carry out our role has been a major factor in keeping everyone safe.”