Gloucestershire Royal Hospital trials body cameras to improve staff security

Staff in the Emergency Department and security teams will wear body cameras for 12-weeks -Credit:BPM MEDIA
Staff in the Emergency Department and security teams will wear body cameras for 12-weeks -Credit:BPM MEDIA

Staff at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital have begun wearing body cameras as part of a new trial aiming to increase security for patients and staff. Cameras will be worn by key members of staff and the security team in the Emergency Department and will only be turned on during abusive, violent or aggressive incidents.

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has said staff members have faced an increasing amount of abuse and aggression within both the Emergency Department and across hospitals in Gloucestershire more widely. As part of efforts to de-escalate such situations and aid police in identifying perpetrators, cameras will record and monitor incidents.

Key staff in the Emergency Department will wear these cameras, as will security staff who may also respond to similar incidents in other parts of the hospital. The cameras will not be constantly active as wearers move around the hospital and must be turned on when an incident is occurring.

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People who are being violent and aggressive will be told there is a camera recording, the trust said, and there are a series of stringent controls in place for the trial, which is set to last 12-weeks. Only the trust's Risk, Health & Safety team will have access to footage captured and it will be compliant with Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) requirements.

Other hospital trusts across the country have already been using body cameras, after hospital staff reported an increase in the amount of abuse they received following the Covid pandemic. Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust recently expanded their body camera scheme, introducing a further 220 small cameras across hospitals.

NUH found the number of aggressive incidents at its hospitals increased sharply by 35 per cent over 12 months. Among those to experience aggression first-hand is Deputy Charge Nurse Hannah Freer, who has worked in the Emergency Department at Queen’s Medical Centre for six years.

She said: “While at work I’ve been called many insulting names, and even received death threats. I’ve seen staff be assaulted, be punched, kicked and spat at. It’s just not acceptable and needs to stop.

"This is heightened when our services are under pressure and patients and relatives experience long waits. Some of our patients also may be more aggressive due to their condition.

"We do accept this; however, we know that in many cases the aggression and violence cannot be excused. We are here to help and deserve to be treated with respect and kindness, while at work.”