CCTV will soon be used on ambulances in a bid to prevent patients being physically and verbally abusive to staff.
South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) has agreed plans to begin using cameras on its vehicles.
The move aims to improve staff safety and looks to tackle the notion, among a very small minority of patients, that it is acceptable to attack ambulance staff, who are simply trying to do their job – helping people.
Many of SECAmb’s ambulances and single response vehicles are already CCTV enabled as standard and discussions have been taking place with staff to finalise the policy on its use.
The systems, which only record images and not sound, are expected to come into operation in the coming weeks.
The CCTV will be used for the purpose of crime prevention, investigation of road traffic collisions and the prosecution of offenders.
It is hoped that as well as protecting staff from abuse it will also act as a deterrent for the thankfully rare occasions vehicles are targeted by thieves.
The footage will be encrypted and password protected so it can only be viewed by those with appropriate authority to do so.
SECAmb head of fleet Justin Wand said, “I’m pleased we’re now able to proceed with our plans to use CCTV on our ambulances.
“It is an important move to ensure our staff are appropriately protected.
“We have been working with our unions to ensure we have a policy that protects staff and patients.
“CCTV fitted on vehicles ready to be switched on will come into operation in the coming weeks as our vehicles come through their scheduled maintenance.
“All our staff have the right to work in a safe and secure environment and verbal abuse or physical violence must never be seen as part of the job.”