Coming into hospital can be a daunting time for many and some of us can react in an unexpected and uncharacteristic way. Some patients or visitors may not have the ability to hold back emotions in stressful situations. This can lead to unpredictable behaviours that can result in a violent or aggressive incident. We also recognise that some of the violence and aggression we experience can be due to patients having cognitive impairment.
Because the NHS has seen an increase in violence and aggression against members of their team, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announced the first ever NHS Violence Reduction Strategy with a zero tolerance approach. To support this strategy and Team ASPH, we are piloting the use of Body Worn Cameras this month.
Body Worn Cameras were first used by the Police Force – and they experienced such significant reduction in incidences of violence and aggression against their staff that this was felt to be an intervention that could support the NHS. Over the next three months we will trial the use of cameras with Ashford’s Security Team and St. Peter’s A&E, ITU, PALS and Security teams. Our colleagues have been attending training sessions over the last couple of weeks in preparation for the launch this month. Our primary concern is the well-being of patients, visitors, and the team; we are optimistic that the trial will enable us to highlight opportunities for change and enable us to utilise the footage as a learning and development tool.
Our hope is that the cameras will be effective as a deterrent, de-escalating situations before an incidence occurs, reducing disruption and allowing colleagues to focus on the care and safety of our patients. The use and storage of the footage will be done in conjunction with data protection policy to ensure we adhere to GDPR. The cameras will not be switched on all the time – the wearer will activate when they feel necessary, if a situation is arising, and when they feel it appropriate to be recorded.
It is so important to keep staff safe and enabled to deliver or contribute to the delivery of care and treatment without fear of abuse or indeed physical harm, and so we hope the use of Body Worn Cameras will help them feel less vulnerable and better protected. If staff have any questions about this pilot then please contact Steven Hill, Health and Safety and Non Clinical Risk Manager, or Louise McKenzie, Director of Workforce Transformation.
Wishing you all a good week ahead.
With best wishes