Security fears at St Albans City Hospital

St Albans City Hospital

St Albans City Hospital - Credit: Archant

A nurse at St Albans City Hospital has warned that patient and employee security has been put at risk after an external door for staff has remained unlocked for months.

And as a result, an intruder was recently found with a hospital blanket, sleeping in a garden area for elderly patients.

The woman, who did not wish to be named, told the Herts Advertiser: “We have felt quite vulnerable. There is a staff door round the back of the hospital that doesn’t lock, near the elderly care ward. There is a keypad for entry, but it hasn’t been connected. Anyone can literally walk in.”

The nurse said she understood that management had told West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust about the problem but the keypad was yet to be fixed.

She went on: “A lock should be put on the door for our safety as the keypad isn’t working. That door allows access to all wards, and when working at night, we do worry about it.”

The nurse said the door was broken some time ago and replaced, but the keypad had remained disconnected for months.

She added: “There is a night security man but he sits near the front of the hospital in his hut. He can’t be everywhere all the time. No-one has come into any of the wards but if you can get into the garden area, you can go anywhere.”

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The nurse called upon the trust to fix the keypad “for the safety of patients and staff”.

A spokeswoman for the trust said: “Unfortunately there was an incident recently at St Albans Hospital when an external door was not shut properly and a man accessed the building without permission.

“Our security team was alerted and the person quickly escorted off the premises. I apologise to any member of the staff who was involved in this upsetting incident.”

She said all external doors had been investigated, and “all locks and security systems are in good working order”.

The spokeswoman added that the hospital’s security staff conducted “regular walkabouts” and talked to staff about any security and safety concerns.

She said the hospital worked “very closely with the police to ensure a safe hospital environment”.