Contact: Karen Gainey, Marketing Coordinator
Phone: 910-291-7550 FAX: 910-291-7996

March 30, 2010

Last month's shooting in Scotland Memorial Hospital's Emergency Center prompted the staff to accelerate their safety and security improvements that began in 2005 when their new Emergency Center was designed.

"The world is changing, and unfortunately, hospitals are no longer the sacred places they once were," stated Greg Wood, President and CEO. "We thought a lot about security five years ago when planning the new EC. At that time we added bullet proof glass in the reception area and began requesting visitors to log in, when arriving after normal visiting hours. Our Security Officers began using wands, when needed, for weapons detection. New staff policies were written when patients arrived following a violent event, when additional assistance was needed in the EC, and when a hospital patient or visitor presented with a weapon."

Obviously, controlling access is the key to limiting violence entering a facility. Following a substantive internal review and a three-day visit from a national security consultant, several key policies were strengthened. Following any patient visit for suspected violence, EC visitors may be inconvenienced as the hospital goes through a weapons detection and baggage inspection process, with visitor access to the EC suspended for a brief period of time.

Similar improvements are being made throughout the main building as well as all of the system's facilities. "We are increasing the number of security guards on duty throughout the day and evening," added Ruth Glaser, Senior Vice President. "EC visitors are asked to log in so that we may know at all times who is in the main building. Visitors at our Edwin Morgan Center also now sign in. Additional doors will be closed after hours to limit public access. We cannot guarantee that we can stop someone who is determined to cause harm - we will just make it much harder to do so."

"We hope that every community member understands that in order to offer a safe environment, some restrictions must be in place. Our goal is to continue to provide a safe, but welcoming, health care system for all patients, visitors and staff", concluded Mr. Wood.

For additional information about Scotland Health Care System's improved security measures, contact the Marketing Department at 910-291-7550.

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