NHSE have today announced that thousands of ambulance crews across the country will be provided with body-worn cameras as part of efforts to reduce attacks on staff.
Following successful trials in London and the North East, cameras will be rolled out to crews at all 10 ambulance trusts across the country, including here at East Midlands Ambulance Service.
Initial trial findings show the cameras make staff feel safer and can assist in de-escalating situations where staff are faced with someone being aggressive towards them.
Our ambulance crews will wear the cameras throughout their shift and can press a button to start recording if patients or the public became aggressive or abusive, with footage made available to police where needed to assist with prosecutions.
In 2020/21, our staff reported 1,048 incidents of assault of a physical, verbal, sexual or racial nature. This is an increase of more than 300 incidents compared to 2016/17 where there were 708 incidents reported.
Richard Henderson, Chief Executive at East Midlands Ambulance Service, said:
“Violence and aggression towards ambulance staff has always been, and will always be, absolutely unacceptable. Our colleagues come to work to help people in their hour of need, not to be abused or assaulted.
“We are pleased to see the funding of body-worn cameras by NHS England and look forward to rolling them out to frontline colleagues across our region.
“We hope these cameras will help to protect our colleagues when responding to patients by acting as a deterrent and de-escalating situations, but in the disappointing event that a staff member experiences violence or aggression, we will have footage of the incident to assist in securing a successful prosecution of the offender.”
Prerana Isaar, Chief People Officer for the NHS said: “Every member of our dedicated and hardworking NHS staff has the fundamental right to be safe at work and it is our priority to eliminate violence and abuse, which we will not tolerate.
“As well as reducing the number of incidents towards our staff, these cameras are a vital step towards ensuring our people feel safe too.
“The fact that we are rolling them out to all ten ambulance trusts three years ahead of schedule is testament to our commitment to tackling this problem and is nothing less than our staff deserve.”