Bristol NHS invest in body cameras after hundreds of attacks on staff


This piece was originally published here

Earlier this year, North Bristol NHS Trust invested in Reveal body worn cameras for their security guards after records showed staff are assaulted over 200 times per year, with 824 instances notched across 4 years. The figures, which include payments for parking patrols and traffic management, show a recent increase in the number of assaults with 273 and 218 assaults per year over the last 2 years, compared with 171 and 162 in the two before.

In response, Reveal body cameras were introduced in to difuse and deter aggression towards staff.

Kim Sunley, national officer for the Royal College of Nursing, said: “These attacks can cause severe injury and mental trauma that can last for years. Yet, too often, assaults are seen as part of the job by employers.

“Our nurses have reported some truly horrific incidents, including eye-gouging – and one was beaten so severely, she was knocked unconscious.

“It took six members of staff to pull the patient off her and for weeks after the attack, she was too traumatised to leave her house. It was months before she could return to a front-line role.”

Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “This is a huge problem for staff in emergency departments.

“Alcohol plays a massive part. When you mix that with everything else that can go on in an A&E, you can have a cocktail for violence.

"There has always been a need for security, but it has had to get much heavier 24/7. It can be horrendous for staff realising that being at work is not safe for them.”

However, North Bristol NHS trust stressed that the bulk of their reported assaults were minor and unintentional.

Simon Wood, director of facilities at North Bristol NHS Trust, said: “Keeping our staff safe at work is of the highest importance and we encourage employees to record all incidents, no matter how minor. We also provide specialist training to support staff in managing any incidents.”

Reveal cameras are also deployed at Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust which recorded a reduction in violence and aggression towards staff by just over 80% with their introduction.

Head of Business Security, Mike Lees, said “The body cameras really come into their own when our officers or nursing staff face threats, aggression, finger pointing and swearing face to face with no contact. We have found that as a deterrence measure they are excellent. As a direct result of wearing body cameras our officers will say that violence towards them has decreased dramatically.”

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