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NHS England to equip ambulance crews with body cameras

04/06/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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NHS England has announced plans to provide ambulance crews with body cameras.

Ambulance seen from behind

It said it is taking the step after successful trials in London and the North East to reduce attacks on staff, which totalled 3,569 last year.

The roll out will cover crews for all 10 ambulance trusts in England and take place three years ahead of the target set in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Medics will wear the cameras and be able to press a button to start recording if patients or the public become aggressive or abusive, with filming made available to police where needed.

Initial findings from the trials showed the cameras encourage staff to feel safer and can de-escalate tense situation.

Perena Isaar, chief people officer for NHS England, 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.”

iPad pledge

The move comes two weeks after the announcement that ambulance crews will also be equipped with iPads to send photographs from the scene of an accident so clinicians on standby in emergency departments can get straight to work when the patient arrives at hospital.

The devices will also enable the medics to access health records to help assess patients’ injuries and send information ahead to speed up handovers.

The initiative has been funded by NHSX.

Image from iStock, Brian A Jackson

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