Paramedics to wear body cameras to help protect from attacks

Paramedics to wear body cameras to help protect from attacks

02/07/2018

This news piece was first published here

Paramedics will be issued with body worn cameras to help protect them from violent attacks, Jeremy Hunt has announced.

He admitted staff are under “huge pressure” and have “never worked harder” as he announced the measures ahead of the 70th anniversary of the health service.

More than 15% of NHS workers have suffered physical violence from patients or their families in the past year.

Recent official figures said there were an average of 154 assaults every day in England, but a union spokesman said the true figure was closer to 200 a day.

Under a pilot scheme, 465 ambulances and their paramedics will be given cameras. If successful, the move will be extended to all paramedics and some other parts of the health service.

Over the last year, 354 prosecutions have been brought in cases involving attacks on ambulance staff, but it is believed the scale of the problem is far greater.

Hunt said: “Nobody should feel unsafe at work – abuse against healthcare workers goes against everything the NHS stands for.

“Whilst the buck must stop with abusers, we want to do everything we can to prevent physical and verbal abuse. Issuing paramedics with body cameras will help protect them and increase prosecutions.”

Ruth May, executive director of nursing at NHS Improvement, said: “The NHS’s greatest asset is its people: frontline staff and managers who often work in highly stressful and challenging circumstances so that people get the safe and high-quality care they deserve.

“In order to secure the future of the NHS and what it stands for, we must strive to be the very best employer. This means looking after our staff and supporting their health and wellbeing. This will also enable them to deliver the best care possible, both now and in future.”

Shadow health minister Justin Madders said: “It is alarming and profoundly worrying that paramedics now require body cameras to operate safely in their workplace.

“When we have record waiting lists and restrictions on treatments, it is a truly sorry state of affairs that resources have to be diverted just so staff can work safely.

“Our NHS staff care for us in our most vulnerable state, and yet we know that on average there are almost 200 assaults on NHS staff in England every single day.

“It is simply unacceptable for anyone to feel unsafe at work.

“The government must therefore also ensure the swift passage of the new legislation Labour is backing in parliament to give our brave NHS and emergency workers the protection they deserve.”

Learn more about how Calla body cameras are helping protect NHS staff 

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