Paramedics in UK to be given body cameras to protect them from abuse
NHS employers will also introduce fast-access systems to speed up access to free mental health support and physiotherapy for their staff.
The measures are part of the 10-year plan that the NHS will agree over the next 6 months as part of the planned £20.5 billion increase to NHS funding by 2023.
The measures aim to reduce cases of physical and verbal abuse against the most at risk NHS workers and help staff manage their own health and return to work faster after illness, allowing more patients to be treated.
In an initial pilot, 465 ambulances and their paramedics will be equipped with body cameras, with potential for a full rollout to all paramedics, and other priority areas.
The NHS is the UK’s largest employer with over 1.5 million staff, caring for a million patients every 24 hours. It is recognised as one of the most respected institutions in the UK, yet over 15% of NHS staff have experienced physical violence from patients, or their families, during the past year.
In the past year, 354 prosecutions have been brought against individuals who have subjected ambulance staff to violence – but estimates suggest this is a fraction of the total incidents.
Health and Social Care secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "Nobody should feel unsafe at work - abuse against healthcare workers goes against everything the NHS stands for. Whilst the buck must stop with abusers, we want to do everything we can to prevent physical and verbal abuse. Issuing paramedics with body cameras will help protect them and increase prosecutions." ■