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Hospital CCTV issue is raised

Brought to you by the News Post Leader.
Brought to you by the News Post Leader.

Concerns have been raised over CCTV at Blyth Community Hospital in relation to three assaults outside the building in recent months.

A relative of one of the victims has criticised Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, saying the camera near where their family member was attacked was not working.

The trust has said that a new CCTV system at the hospital was already in the pipeline and its installation is ‘almost complete’.

The woman raising the issue had read a letter from Ray Pate, head of support services at the trust, in the Leader explaining why it had blocked off a cut-through route.

He said three people were assaulted in the nearby car park and in all cases, the perpetrator used the cut-through as a means of escape.

The woman told the Leader: “My sister was one of the people who was attacked. It happened last September.

“She had just got into in her car and her handbag and mobile phone were stolen.

“If the trust takes employee and public safety so seriously, why did it not ensure that the 360’ CCTV camera sited right next to this cut-through was in working order and repaired when it was already known by the trust to be broken?

“If the trust had repaired the CCTV camera when it was first reported, the police may have been able to identify and arrest the thief.”

Mr Pate said: “We would like to assure the community that the safety of our staff and patients is of paramount importance.

“For more than two years, we, like neighbouring properties, have been dealing with increased incidents of anti-social behaviour in the Blyth hospital area and, alongside liaising with the police, have implemented a number of measures, including blocking off the cut.

“When the first attack took place, our plans for a new, improved CCTV system on-site with additional cameras giving better coverage and higher quality images were already well advanced.

“However, as an NHS organisation we must follow a strict legal process for tenders and with the new system on the horizon, it was not cost effective to replace a single camera. The installation of this new CCTV system is now almost complete.

“We hope this offers reassurance and we have also arranged a drop-in session at Blyth hospital on Monday for staff to raise any concerns they may have.”