Hospital drunks face Pubwatch ban to protect NHS staff
Drunken people admitted to hospital and who abuse NHS staff could be barred from pubs and clubs under a new scheme in north Wales.
Health service managers have joined forces with police and linked-up with Wrexham's Nightsafe scheme as well as Pubwatch groups across the region.
These groups have the power to issue banning orders which prevent drinkers from entering pubs.
The programme is being extended after success in Gwynedd and Anglesey.
Figures obtained by BBC Wales in June showed an average of 7,500 reported violent incidents a year on hospital staff and paramedics in Wales.
From this weekend, any incidents of abuse or assault on NHS staff in north Wales and reported to North Wales Police will be passed on to be considered by the local Pubwatch groups.
Where the offender was under the influence of alcohol the groups will have the power to issue banning orders that will apply to every affiliated premises within the Pubwatch area.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) and the Welsh Ambulance Service say aggression against NHS staff will not be tolerated.
Grace Lewis Parry, health board director with lead responsibility for tackling violence and aggression, said the scheme was being extended following a successful partnership between Bangor's Ysbyty Gwynedd hospital and Pubwatch groups in Gwynedd and Anglesey.
"A couple of banning orders have already been issued in north west Wales," she said.
"But the success of the scheme isn't about taking action against offenders, it's about encouraging people to behave in the right way and deter them from being abusive or violent towards our staff who, after all, are there to help and treat them."