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Hospital staff set to wear security cameras
HOSPITAL security teams could start wearing video cameras on uniforms to record violent and threatening incidents.
It follows a successful two-week trial of a body-worn camera by security workers at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.
It is hoped the scheme could be rolled out across Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust within the next year.
A formal application will have to be put to the trust board for approval before the project can go ahead.
Other trusts around the country have found using cameras has led to a 2,000 per cent increase in the number of prosecutions.
As well as helping to provide evidence for court cases, cameras can also act as a deterrent if people know they are being filmed.
Fixed CCTV cameras are already in use at the trust’s hospitals but the body cameras will be able to provide additional support.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals run the Royal Sussex, Sussex Eye Hospital and Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton as well as the Princess Royal Hospital and Hurstwood Park Neurosciences Centre in Haywards Heath.
The number of violent incidents and verbal threats made against staff has more than halved in the past two years but the trust is continuing to work to bring the numbers down even further.
Most violent and aggressive incidents involve patients who cannot help their behaviour, such as those with serious mental health problems.
However other cases can be drink related, with patients, relatives or friends becoming aggressive and difficult to deal with.
A trust spokesman said: “Evidence from other NHS trusts, other public bodies and private industry shows that the use of body worn video has two effects.
“It has been shown to reduce incidents of violent and aggressive behaviour as when individuals see, or are told that they are being recorded, their behaviour tends to moderate.
“In addition it has been shown to increase the willingness of police and the Crown Prosecution Service to pursue sanctions against individuals whose behaviour does not moderate.
“While reported incidents of violence and aggression against staff have fallen again in past 12 months it is important the trust does everything it can to make our sites safe and secure places to be treated and work.
“The trial received positive feedback from staff using them and no concerns were raised from visitors or members of the public or patients.”