Last reviewed 8 June 2021

Thousands of ambulance crews across the country will be provided with body cameras as part of an NHS crackdown to reduce attacks on staff.

The introduction of the cameras comes alongside data showing that 3569 ambulance staff were physically assaulted by the public last year — 30% more than five years ago.

Following successful trials in London and the North East, the NHS in England will roll out the cameras to crews in the 10 ambulance trusts across the country — three years ahead of the NHS Long Term Plan target.

Medics will be able to press a button to start recording if patients or members of the public become aggressive or abusive, with filming made available to police where needed.

The announcement follows the launch of the first ever national Violence Prevention and Reduction Standard at the beginning of the year, with every NHS trust in the country expected to publish a plan to tackle violence towards staff.

Prerana Isaar, Chief People Officer for the NHS, said: “As well as reducing the number of incidents towards our staff, these cameras are a vital step towards ensuring our people feel safe too. The fact that we are rolling them out to all 10 ambulance trusts three years ahead of schedule is testament to our commitment to tackling this problem and is nothing less than our staff deserve.”

The rollout comes after a year in which NHS staff have treated more than 400,000 Covid patients while continuing to see millions of patients for non-Covid conditions and successfully deliver the world’s first vaccination programme.

Chief Executive of London Ambulance Service, Garrett Emmerson, said: “Sadly, in the last year, over 600 of our ambulance crews were the victim of physical abuse whilst providing care to Londoners. We very much welcome NHS England’s decision to accelerate the roll out of body-worn cameras nationally, which we hope will both deter incidents and ensure the appropriate prosecution and sentencing of those who attack our people.”