Louts, drunks and hoax callers face being banned from Hull and East Yorkshire hospitals
TROUBLEMAKERS who abuse and assault medical staff and patients are to be banned from every hospital in East Yorkshire.
Police are working with hospital security staff to identify louts, drunks and hoax callers who persistently cause problems at Hull Royal Infirmary (HRI).
They will then be seeking antisocial behaviour orders (Asbos) to ban the worst offenders from all hospitals covered by Humberside Police, including Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham, Bridlington and District Hospital and Goole Hospital.
PC Russell Moore, antisocial behaviour officer for Hull, said: "Hospitals are for sick people, not for idiots.
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"The staff working there have a difficult enough job already without having to put up with this sort of behaviour."
Police have already secured the first Asbo against "attention-seeker" Dawn Powdrell, 53, who has plagued emergency services with scores of 999 calls, pretending to be ill.
On many occasions, she has been taken to hospital only for staff to find she had no health problems. She then becomes abusive when staff refuse to treat her.
PC Moore said: "We became aware of her through working so closely with the hospital. She has been causing problems for a long, long time.
"She is one of the worst hoax- callers I have ever come across."
Powdrell has now been given a two-year Asbo, banning her from any hospital in East Yorkshire unless it is for a genuine emergency or a pre-arranged appointment and from being abusive or threatening towards hospital workers and ambulance crews.
District Judge Frederick Rutherford was told Powdrell had made 76 calls to the 999 emergency number in a six-month period.
"You can count on one hand the number of calls that were genuine," said PC Moore.
"She is an attention-seeker and when she doesn't get what she wants, she kicks off in the hospital, often in front of people who are distressed and awaiting medical treatment."
Powdrell's false claims have included saying she had been assaulted by police officers and that she was five months' pregnant. Both were found to be false.
She visited the hospital's accident and emergency department three times in November to make untrue claims.
PC Moore said: "It is not just disruptive to people at the hospital as, when she is making these calls, they have to be investigated.
"That often takes police or ambulance crews some time and takes them away from genuine emergencies."
PC Moore said the Asbo given to Powdrell could be the first of many and should act as a warning to other persistent troublemakers.
He said antisocial behaviour around HRI has been a problem for some time and the drastic police action was already having an effect.
"We have recognised there are a lot of problems at the hospital, which we have never tackled like this before," said PC Moore.
"There are people who cause persistent problems in the hospital, particularly in accident and emergency and in the foyers.
"This is happening in front of people who are severely ill and in enough distress without having to see this as well.
"The work we are doing is really gathering pace and is having a dramatic effect."
In 2012, there were 125 crimes reported at HRI in Anlaby Road, including 32 cases of public disorder and 24 assaults.
The work between police and the hospital was launched after security staff conducted a review of violence and aggression at the hospital.
Officers are notified about every disturbance and will then apply to the courts for antisocial behaviour orders for the most prolific offenders.
Minor offenders will be given informal warnings.
Posters of those who have been given Asbos will then be displayed around the hospitals they are banned from.
A spokesman for Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust said health workers are already feeling the benefits of the new crackdown on antisocial behaviour..
He said: "We are trying to create a safer culture, not just for the staff, but for the patients.
"By doing this, the staff have already said they feel safer. We were mostly seeing outbursts of violence and aggression directed towards staff, but it was happening in front of patients.
"Places like A&E are quite sensitive and people in there can be very poorly. The last thing they need is to be witnessing abusive behaviour.
"As well as working with the police, we are doing a lot more to make the patients and staff feel safer and we will keep striving to do so."