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December 15, 2009

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Cameras to record assaults against NHS staff

A £300,000 CCTV pilot to tackle violent and aggressive behaviour

towards NHS workers is being launched today (15 December) by the Welsh

Assembly Government.

A £300,000 CCTV pilot to tackle violent and aggressive behaviour

towards NHS workers is being launched today (15 December) by the Welsh

Assembly Government.

The one-year scheme will see CCTV cameras installed in four accident and emergency departments across Wales and five ambulances in Cardiff. Images from the cameras will be used to help prosecute people who are violent and aggressive towards NHS staff.

This pilot is one of 54 measures contained in a report commissioned by the Welsh Assembly Government earlier in the year to crack down on violence and aggression against health-care workers. A Lone-Worker Alert System, comprising personal safety alarms linked to a centralised control system, is also being put in place to protect vulnerable staff working in community settings.

The Assembly Government’s health minister, Edwina Hart, said: “It is unacceptable that NHS staff face wilful violence and aggression while going about their day-to-day duties caring for patients. The introduction of CCTV cameras will help provide more evidence to support prosecutions and act as a deterrent, making people think twice before abusing staff.”

Describing the pilot as a “very important innovation”, Dr Chris Jones, chair of Cwm Taf Health Board, commented: “It is vital that we protect our staff and the vast majority of our law-abiding patients from the unwarranted actions and behaviour of the few. We very much welcome anything that supports this.”

Tina Donnelly, director of the Royal College of Nursing Wales, also welcomed the scheme and expects prosecutions to increase as a result. She said: “The CCTV pilot programme should be a deterrence to potential offenders. It sends a strong message of encouragement and support to front-line nurses and NHS staff that the health minister is listening to reports of abuse and is genuinely concerned about the well-being of NHS staff.”

The four hospitals involved are the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil; the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport; West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen; and Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor. Five ambulances from the Blackweir Ambulance Station in Cardiff will also be fitted with cameras.

 

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