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CRIMINALS TARGET MEDICAL PRACTICES

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Fidelity ADT has picked up a worrying trend this month where patients at two doctor’s rooms have come under attack by imposters coming in and pretending to be patients.

Linda Reeder, Community Development Manager at Fidelity ADT says it is particularly concerning as in general it is very difficult to distinguish between actual patients and fraudsters pretending to be patients.  Patients visiting the practice are also generally not feeling well and definitely not on high alert as this is almost the last place you would expect thieves to walk in.

Unfortunately, opportunistic thieves often prey on people in vulnerable spaces. “It is also a public space so the last thing one wants to do is create panic,” says Reeder.

Reeder provides the following advice to medical practices:

  • All medical rooms including doctors, dentists etc. should be connected to a panic button
  • A secure place of safety is vitally important, and should include security doors if possible
  • Should suspicious activity occur, rather over react than not react at all. Noise is generally a good deterrent and will often scare off criminals
  • Report any suspicious activity to the SAPS or contact your private security provider immediately
  • If there is a registration point at the practice and there are more than two patients wanting to come in for an appointment, it can be useful to have some kind of confirmation of appointment and identity – this can take the form of phone numbers and other details
  • Ensure your staff has been trained to react in the event of an emergency and ensure they have security contact details
  • Regular testing and maintenance of a duress alarm is essential
  • In the case of an incident, be sure to preserve evidence
  • Assess your risks regularly and make sure there is a plan of action
  • Be cautious not to overact and create panic
  • Afterhours consultations must be carefully planned, taking into consideration criminal activity and risks
  • Fencing around the practice and car park to prevent a thoroughfare is advised if the layout of the practice permits
  • Establish a system of alerts between staff members and the different medical practitioners. Consider, for instance, a keyword to alert each other of potential danger – this should be innocuous enough to not alert intruders
  • Consider installing CCTV

Compiled on behalf of Fidelity ADT by Cathy Findley Public Relations, for media queries contact Jacqui@findleypr.co.za or 011 463 6372.

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