Monday, 22 April, 2024
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Bodycams for NHS nurses after surge in patient abuse

A London NHS trust is giving its nurses body-worn cameras and asking the public to be kinder to its healthcare staff, after violence and abuse cases more than doubled over three years.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust launched its No Abuse No Excuse campaign last week as a result of staff increasingly coming under attack from patients, their relatives and other members of the public.

These attacks include racism, threats to kill and physical abuse, reports Nursing Times.

The campaign features testimonies from nurses and other staff from the trust about the abuse they had received in recent years, aiming to raise awareness about the scale of the issue.

Alongside these, the trust is giving staff more powers to curb abuse and increasing the amount of monitoring and security on wards.

Yvonne Ihekwoaba, a registered nurse at the trust, said a patient punched her so hard she was knocked over.

“My patient was verbally abusive when I offered him his medication,” she said. “I tried to calm him down. The next thing I knew I was punched in my stomach and landed on the floor. I was in the accident and emergency ward for several hours afterwards.”

The Barking, Havering and Redbridge trust said there were 75 cases of violence and aggression against staff by patients, relatives or visitors in January 2024, compared with 36 in January 2021.

Alongside this, in the NHS Staff Survey, the trust saw a 14.5% increase in staff reporting having experienced violence or aggression from patients and the public.

The trust said it was introducing 60 new bodycams for staff, including nurses, for their protection, in areas such as accident and emergency and frailty units.

Currently, the trust has a “red card” system to allow staff to ban an abusive individual from the hospital when it is “clinically safe”.

However, it said this had only happened once in five years.

This red card system is being simplified, and the trust said it would now be easier for staff to use it.

As well as this, security officers are being given more training and will be made more visible.

Trust chief executive Matthew Trainer said: “Our staff should not be shouted at, hit or subjected to racist abuse while doing their job.

“It’s happening more and more often to colleagues in our hospitals, and we are taking action to respond to their concerns.

“Our message couldn’t be simpler: no abuse, no excuse.”

 

Nursing Times article – Nurses given bodycams after surge in abuse from patients (Open access)

 

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