Security staff at Guy’s and St Thomas’ are being given body cameras after attacks on nurses and frontline workers increased by nearly a third the last year.
From April to September 2016 there were 850 recorded incidents, compared to 620 in the same period last year – up by 27 per cent. Other statistics show that in the six months from April to September this year:
- 75 arrests were made – up from 30 in the same period last year
- 26 patients have been excluded from the Trust which means they will only be provided with emergency treatment – up from seven in the same period last year
- 130 behaviour contracts have been issued – these explain why that person’s behaviour was unacceptable and that any repeat will mean they are excluded from the Trust – up from 70 in the same period last year.
Dame Eileen Sills, Chief Nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “I absolutely understand that coming to hospital can be a very stressful experience and we want to ensure all our patients receive the right care delivered safely, with kindness.
“But at times our staff and patients have felt threatened and intimidated by a small number of patients and visitors and we want to send a clear message to people that our staff are here for them. Please let them do their jobs safely.
“We will also be training our staff to identify patients at risk of developing challenging behaviour for clinical reasons so that the appropriate support and interventions can be given to prevent them from harming themselves or others.
“Any unprovoked violence and aggression towards staff is unacceptable. If people do abuse our staff we will take robust action and pursue them through the courts if necessary.”
The six month trial comes as the Trust launches its Keep Our Staff Safe campaign, backed by the Metropolitan Police, to reduce violent and abusive behaviour by patients and visitors and increase staff awareness of the support available to them.
Superintendent Roy Smith said: “We take assaults on NHS staff very seriously. The introduction of body cameras will help prevent them occurring in the first place because they act as an excellent deterrent and provide really good evidence for us to bring offenders to justice.
“I would hope if the pilot here is successful it is something that other NHS Trusts would look to roll out across London.”