Spy cameras help hospital security guards tackle violence

Hospital security guards will be fitted with tiny cameras in a move to tackle violent assaults on employees.

Security staff at Derriford Hospital, Devon, will wear the state-of-the-art devices on their shoulders as they patrol hospital corridors and car parks and attend incidents on hospital grounds.

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust said violent assaults against staff were relatively few. In 2007-08, there were 29 assaults per 1,000 staff at Plymouth Hospitals.

However, Viv Gale, the trust’s security advisor, said: “The safety of our staff is of paramount importance to us and we will not tolerate our staff being abused, verbally or physically, by patients or visitors. We will seek prosecutions if necessary. The cameras will play a significant role in this, as the evidence we gather from an incident can be used to take the offenders to court.”

Alex Mayor, medical director for the trust, added: “We hope to see a reduction of verbal and physical abuse within the organisation.”

Derriford hospital employs more than 6,300 staff and cares for 800,000 patients a year.

Official figures released last month by the NHS Security Management Service showed that there were 55,993 reported physical assaults against NHS staff in England 2007/8 – an increase of 284 from last year’s figure of 55,709.

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