Over 800 staff at the high-security psychiatric State Hospital in Scotland are supplied with an Atus staff attack device – PS-Micro – to enable them to generate an alarm in an emergency situation, wherever they are on the campus.
In 2008 the State Hospital and multinational building contractor Skanska entered into a £65 million contract to rebuild the State Hospital. The rebuild forms part of national mental health policy to provide appropriate services. The objective is to replace the existing building with a state-of-the-art hospital which should be completed by 2011/12.
Security for all Security has always been a necessary part of psychiatric care. The State Hospital maintains a safe and secure environment that enables effective patient care and treatment, and support to staff. The most important and effective measure in ensuring the long-term safety and health of the patient is relational security (therapeutic engagement) in combination with physical security.
All access, egress and movement within the hospital is supervised 24 hours a day, and comprehensive contingency arrangements are in place, reflecting the potentially serious nature of emergency situations which could arise within the State Hospital environment.
A choice for quality A key element of the State Hospital’s security arrangements is the decision to provide an Atus PS-Micro staff attack unit for each member of staff. A reason for choosing the Atus devices was that the State Hospital was aware of their success in other high-security establishments. Moreover, as the site is being modernized and expanded in three phases, a phased implementation was important, with the existing site staying live throughout the development process.
“We put each phase of the system through a strict test regime before signing off for acceptance,” says the State Hospital’s Security Director Doug Irwin. “It meets our security expectations, and the graphical front-end on a touch-screen is particularly easy to understand and simple to operate.”
Instant alarming, anywhere On a day-to-day basis, each member of staff will collect a PS-Micro on arrival at the hospital and carry it for the duration of their shift. As they move around the campus and within individual buildings, they pass LF-based location beacons which update the location of the hospital workers in their PS-Micro. In an emergency situation, when the red button on the PS-Micro is pressed, the unit will transmit an alarm as well as its current and last location to the control room.
The control room receives this alarm instantly and simultaneously activates the integrated PA system in the zone where the alarm was generated. The zone in alarm flashes on an overlay drawing of that building on the touch-screen in the control room. The operator touches the screen to acknowledge the alarm and opens the speech channel to that building. If multiple alarms are received, the system automatically receives and processes these within three seconds and activates sounders and strobes in all the zones concerned.
After acknowledging the alarm, the sounder and strobes will stop, and apart from the speech channel there will be no local indication of an active alarm. With the speech channel open, the control room can continue to communicate with the user for as long as is necessary. Once the user considers the emergency situation is under control, pressing the red button on the PS-Micro twice will reset their personal alarm. That way the system provides staff with peace of mind in their working environment.
The State Hospital is the only high-security psychiatric hospital covering Scotland and Northern Ireland. Employing around 800 staff, the hospital is located in Carstairs in central Scotland, midway between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Along with Broadmoor, Rampton and Ashworth it is one of only four high-security hospitals in the UK. It provides assessment, treatment and care for up to 140 individuals with mental health disorders who, because of their dangerous, violent or criminal tendencies, cannot be cared for in any other setting.