Sussex NHS Foundation Trust

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust is the main provider of NHS community health and care services across West Sussex, Brighton & Hove and parts of East Sussex. Situated in the densely-populated South-East of the country, an estimated 8,000 people use their services every day.

The Trust employ around 4,750 staff in a number of roles, based both on and off-site, with many nurses and therapists working out in the community. Roles at Sussex encompass not just medical staff, but those supporting their roles, such as administrators, receptionists, caterers, and cleaners.

With the number of assaults on NHS staff on the rise, keeping each and every one safe is a priority. Dealing with the public, often in sensitive situations can result in a greater amount of risk to employees. Many also work shifts and in some cases, have increasingly found themselves working alone due to the changing nature of their job.

Implementing measures to protect employees, in particular, lone workers is something that NHS Trusts across the country take very seriously. Issuing personal safety alarms is a solution that many have adopted, finding this effective not just for safety but also reassuring for staff.

One such solution is the MySOS personal protection device. Small and compact, the unit itself is no bigger than the average key fob and can easily be carried on someone’s person. The device utilises an SOS alarm and when activated, links the user to our dedicated Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). Alarm Controllers provide round-the-clock assistance and can escalate to the emergency services if the situation requires their intervention.

If staff feel threatened they can raise an alarm to get help quickly. Peoplesafe’s Alarm Controllers have fast access to the emergency services as they are able to bypass 999 and go directly to police control rooms. This is because MySOS is accredited by the highest industry standard, BS 8484:2022 and also the police’s Secured By Design enabling priority response. Knowing that this level of backup is available at the press of a button gives staff vital peace of mind.

As Katy Smith from Sussex NHS explains, the service has been extremely beneficial for reception staff working alone outside normal hours.

“We provide emergency dental treatment for patients who cannot access a surgery when in pain. Our receptionists use the device when working out of hours. It’s very easy and simple to use.”
Katy Tidzer-Smith

For lone worker solutions, discreet activation is a must and this is particularly important in cases such as Sussex. On activation of the alarm, Peoplesafe’s Alarm Controllers will always listen in first to assess if there are signs the user is in danger. In this way, emergency responses can be summoned without the user even needing to speak. Inconspicuous code words can also be specified that if heard will subtly alert Alarm Controllers that urgent help is required without an assailant knowing.

Such is the popularity of the device, over 100 NHS Trusts so far have opted to use Peoplesafe’s services for vulnerable employees, safeguarding users in all manner of scenarios. Katy Smith suggests one of the reasons for this is the reliability of the backup it provides.

Simply put, she says, “it gives us a sense of security and reassurance. We wouldn’t want to be without it.”

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