Access control for the NHS

Thursday, 10th March, 2016

Protect and secure NHS assets. 

The NHS spends a considerable amount of its budget on buildings, equipment and consumables and with ever increasing burdens on these budgets it is important that assets are well protected.

Raise awareness

Obviously raising awareness of security issues with staff, visitors and contractors will make them more tuned into security matters and by encouraging staff to look out for suspicious activity/people and report these suspicions quickly will have a big impact. Encouraging staff to think about their environment will also help, so suggesting they don’t prop doors open or be aware of potential ‘tailgating; through doors and barriers will all help towards a more secure building. As will having appropriate lighting in all areas and regular security patrols, especially around buildings that are not open 24/7.

NHS managers need to ensure staff identity badges play their part in an overall security system. Having staff ID badges linked to HR systems and a physical access control solution means the management of starters and leavers is easy and access rights can be assigned or revoked very quickly.

Integrate systems

Most NHS buildings will have a number of security systems in place, CCTV, fire alarms, intruder detection systems and door access control. To offer the best protection levels these systems should all be integrated into one overall security solution where security managers have complete oversight of what is going on in real-time and be able to take a pro-active response to prevent incidents.

If a site still uses physical lock and keys – then these need to be well managed with appropriate controls in place including using key cabinets that can only be accessed by those with rights and where a full audit trail of activity can be easily reported.

Setting access policies

NHS managers need to consider a solution that offers the ability to have very granular access policies set, to ensure only those staff can gain access to high risk areas such as laboratories, operating theatres etc. Medicine cabinets should only be accessed by those who need to dispense drugs and at the time they are on duty, not only does this prevent any possible loss or theft of drugs it also brings another level of accountability in patient care.

Similarly keeping patient records confidential to meet compliance needs is also an important consideration and can be included in the wider scope of a physical access control solution.

If you would like to talk to our access control team about how we can help your NHS Trust better protect its assets then please call us on 0113 273 0300 or email solutions@ait.co.uk