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Body camera trial succeeds in curbing aggression against nurses

Trust makes wearing of bodycams in emergency department permanent after reports of abusive behaviour towards staff are halved
Poster for ‘No Excuses’ campaign against abuse that was launched earlier this year at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Trust makes wearing of bodycams in emergency department permanent after reports of abusive behaviour towards staff are halved

An initiative to reduce violence against staff that included nurses wearing body cameras has led to a significant reduction in abuse.

The ‘No Excuses’ campaign was launched earlier this year at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust amid a worrying increase in violence and aggression towards staff. It included nurses and other staff in the emergency department at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford trialling bodycams to help keep themselves and patients safe.

Reports of abusive behaviour at the hospital have since dropped by

Trust makes wearing of bodycams in emergency department permanent after reports of abusive behaviour towards staff are halved

Poster for ‘No Excuses’ campaign against abuse that was launched earlier this year at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

An initiative to reduce violence against staff that included nurses wearing body cameras has led to a significant reduction in abuse.

The ‘No Excuses’ campaign was launched earlier this year at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust amid a worrying increase in violence and aggression towards staff. It included nurses and other staff in the emergency department at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford trialling bodycams to help keep themselves and patients safe.

Reports of abusive behaviour at the hospital have since dropped by about half – from 180 incidents in November 2021 to 94 in April 2022. The use of bodycams has now been made permanent at the John Radcliffe Hospital and was this week rolled out to Horton General Hospital in Banbury.

The cameras, which are smaller than a smartphone, are worn on staff uniforms and clearly visible to others. They are only switched on when someone is being violent or abusive and that person has been told they are being recorded. The idea is that they deter people from being aggressive and also help to identify and prosecute offenders.

Oxford scheme comes amid ongoing concerns about levels of violence against nurses and other NHS staff

Chief nursing officer at the trust Sam Foster said the use of body cameras had been a success and had proved popular with staff.

‘Abuse towards our staff is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in any circumstances,’ said Ms Foster. ‘Abuse takes many forms – it doesn’t have to be physical. Verbal abuse and aggression can be just as damaging and take a huge toll on someone’s well-being.’

Picture shows nurse wearing a body camera
Nurse wearing a body camera Picture: Calla

More than 96% of emergency department staff agreed with the need for body cameras following the trial.

The Oxford scheme comes amid ongoing concerns about levels of violence against nurses and other NHS staff, with waiting lists for treatment currently at a record high.

The 2021 NHS Staff Survey in England found nearly 23% of nurses and midwives had experienced physical violence at work by patients, relatives or other members of the public in the previous 12 months.

Former chief inspector of social services Lord Herbert Laming said last month that nurses were at greater risk of abuse at work because they were the ones delivering bad news about scarce NHS resources.


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