It is a sad reality that violence is part of day-to-day life for increasing numbers of NHS staff. Recent research by HSJ and Unison found an absolute increase of 9.7 per cent in violent attacks on those working in hospitals.
Political action is being taken – there is hope of legislation imposing tougher penalties on those who assault emergency workers or NHS staff – but leaders at individual organisations will undoubtedly need to consider what action can be taken at the local level.
One course of action may be to turn to technology. Body worn video cameras (bodycams) can capture a point of view record of any incident. It could be that they can deter verbal abuse and aggression, since people are less likely to lash out if they know they are being filmed. So simply the presence of a bodycam may help reduce violent incidents.
Late last year, Hytera – which already supplies digital radios widely across the NHS – introduced the VM685 to the market. This affordable bodycam can capture quality high definition video, has a dual microphone to capture clear audio, and is easy to wear thanks to its universal mounting clip.
It is easy to use, with one touch record buttons and an emergency button. It has incident time, tags and watermark options, and a range of simple menu options on the device. And since it easily integrates with any existing telecommunications setups, it can be used out of the box.
As well as serving as a record of an incident, captured footage prove useful for wider purposes such as training. Videos can be used to demonstrate best practice, provide feedback on an incident, to observe the interaction between staff members, and between them and the public, and to show new recruits the kinds of incidents that can take place.
Clearly the VM685 will be most useful to NHS security staff in the first instance, but could easily be used by anyone who would find it helpful to capture point of view footage. The innovative in-built remote speaker microphone allows users to communicate efficiently from the push-to-talk on their VM685, routed via their Hytera radio, even initiating an emergency alarm, connected to the radio via cable or Bluetooth.
All video data is securely stored and processed, ensuring compliance with the general data protection regulation (GDPR). It is waterproof, drop proof and dust proof, making it ideal for a healthcare environment.
To find out more about the VM685, visit hytera.co.uk/bodycam. At the website, you can request an entirely free demo of the device – once you submit your details, Hytera will assign a trusted dealer to contact you to arrange the demo.