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ED nurses start using bodycams to reduce violence against staff

Trial of body cameras in emergency department at Oxford hospital is aimed at curbing violence and abuse against staff after spike in incidents
Poster showing a female medic holding up her hand in a 'stop' gesture, used in a campaign by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to combat a rise in aggressive behaviour

Trial of body cameras in emergency department at Oxford hospital is aimed at curbing violence and abuse against staff after spike in incidents

Emergency department nurses are testing body cameras as part of a hospital’s campaign to reduce violence against staff.

The emergency department (ED) nurses at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford are among those taking part in a three-month trial of the camera equipment, which got under way this week.

Clinicians who have had training will wear the tiny cameras – previously only sported by security staff – on their uniforms, but they will only be switched on when someone is being violent or abusive.

Trial of body cameras in emergency department at Oxford hospital is aimed at curbing violence and abuse against staff after spike in incidents

Poster showing a female medic holding up her hand in a 'stop' gesture, used in a campaign by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to combat a rise in aggressive behaviour

Emergency department nurses are testing body cameras as part of a hospital’s campaign to reduce violence against staff.

The emergency department (ED) nurses at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford are among those taking part in a three-month trial of the camera equipment, which got under way this week.

Clinicians who have had training will wear the tiny cameras – previously only sported by security staff – on their uniforms, but they will only be switched on when someone is being violent or abusive.

Picture shows a nurse wearing a body camera
Picture: Calla

The initiative is running alongside a campaign called There’s No Excuse launched by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust amid a concerning rise in aggressive behaviour.

Widespread concern across the NHS about increase in abuse of staff during COVID-19 pandemic

Reports of violence against hospital staff, many involving nurses, more than doubled at the trust in November 2021 compared with a year earlier. In November 2020 there were 80 reported incidents involving violence and aggression but in November 2021 reports had surged to 180.

Chief nursing officer Sam Foster said: ‘We have seen an increase in aggression and abuse towards our health and care staff in a range of settings. This is completely unacceptable and the campaign message is very clear that it will not be tolerated under any circumstances.’

There is widespread concern across the NHS about an increase in abuse of staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, with employers taking additional steps protect their workforce.

The 2020 NHS Staff Survey in England found just over 23% of nurses and midwives said they had experienced at least one incident of violence at work by patients, relatives or other members of the public in the previous 12 months. This rose to 29% for those working in adult acute or community settings.

Ms Foster said nurses understood the ‘anxieties, stress and worry caused by the ongoing pandemic’, but added: ‘Everyone should be entitled to work in an environment where they feel safe and free from aggression and abuse.’

She said: ‘Abuse takes many forms – it doesn’t have to be physical violence. Verbal abuse and aggression can be just as damaging and can take a huge toll on someone’s well-being. In time this wears people down and can potentially lead to increased sickness and absence.’


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