Herefordshire: Ambulance worker dead after object struck windscreen
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Thousands of NHS staff will use the technology in England if a patient or member of the public becomes aggressive or abusive. It will record footage which can be passed to the police if needed. The move comes after the number of paramedics physically attacked rose by almost a third in five years, reaching 3,569 last year. Prerana Issar, 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 10 ambulance trusts three years ahead of schedule is testament to our commitment to tackling this problem and is nothing less than our staff deserve.”
In 2016/17, there were just over 2,700 assaults on ambulance staff, according to the NHS staff survey. By 2020/21, that figure had risen by 32 per cent to 3,659. Trials of the tech in London and the North East found that wearing cameras made staff feel safer.
They can also act as a deterrent, helping to de-escalate situations that may otherwise have turned violent.
Gary Watson, an emergency medic writing in the Daily Express today, said: “We go to work to help people – not to be assaulted.”
Darren Green, clinical service manager at North East Ambulance Service, said: “Staff safety is one of our highest priorities. If we are unable to protect our staff, we are unable to provide a service that’s fit for purpose for the public we serve.
“The availability of body-worn cameras for our staff is something that we have championed for a long time and so we are delighted to have led the trial to help implement them nationally.
“Nobody comes to work to be abused, but especially not by the people they have come to help.
“Sadly, these cameras are needed now more than ever.”
The rollout follows the launch of the first national Violence Prevention and Reduction Standard at the start of the year, with every NHS trust in the country expected to publish a plan to tackle violence towards staff.
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