In a new strategy to look out for the health and wellbeing of their staff, the Townsville Hospital will be introducing body cameras to be worn by staff members. Even though the technology was trialled in 2017, the hospital will be the first health care services in Queensland to implement it.
The cameras are being used to combat the rising violence that the staff face on a daily basis. It has been reported that they are bitten, punched, abused and spat on regularly for just trying to do their job.
Tony Mooney, the Hospital board chairman, stated that he hopes the implementation of the technology will deter any future attacks or disrespect on nurses and doctors. He also stated that they are drawing the line on the horrific violence that the staff members have to endure. In 2017 the hospital had reported 687 violent incidents and 562 in 2016.
Doctor Natalie Ly believes that the implementation of the cameras will send a message to the public that any violent behaviour towards hospital staff will be taken seriously. Doctor Ly works in the emergency department and has said that it feels horrible to arrive at work to care for people but then you are greeted with assault and abuse.
It is estimated that the Townsville Hospital will be purchasing 15 cameras to start off with, costing approximately $20,000. The cameras that will be introduced are able to record audio as well as video. They will be worn by security personnel and will only be turned on during times where there is a violent incident.
Steven Miles, the Queensland Health Minister, said that the footage that these cameras gather will aid in the prosecution process for those facing charges. The evidence gathered will be used to take action against any individuals who think it is okay to threaten health care professionals or those that are looking to perpetuate violence in the hospital setting.
Other hospitals in Queensland are monitoring the process and results that the Townsville Hospital will have against violence before implementing them across the state. If they are an effective deterrent against violent acts towards health care professionals we could soon see them implemented across numerous hospitals throughout Australia.
Giving these professionals back their work place safety will ensure that they are able to perform to the best of their ability and get back to their job which is saving and assisting the lives of Australians.