Alarms For Staff At NC Mental Hospitals Unreliable

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina Health and Human Services officials say the emergency transmitters the state bought to protect mental hospital workers are plagued by problems and are rarely used.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the transmitters have been replaced by whistles for most workers.

State officials say fewer than 200 of the 950 alarms purchased since 2003 are being used because of the high frequency of accidental calls, devices breaking and other problems.

Hospital staff members say they are worried about their safety and the safety of patients.

Health and Human Services officials say staff injuries have been reduced over the past year and now are averaging two injuries every three days.

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