Ministers said the measures to counter soaring levels of violence would help to prevent crimes against staff and bring attackers to justice.
They said the protection was part of a wider package of support to healthcare workers, including quicker access to mental health help, and physiotherapy.
In an initial pilot, 465 ambulances and their paramedics will be equipped with body cameras, with potential for a full rollout to all such staff, and other workers who suffer threats from patients.
One in seven NHS workers has experienced physical violence from patients or their families in the last year. Yet just 354 prosecutions have been brought against individuals who have subjected ambulance staff to violence.
Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Nobody should feel unsafe at work – abuse against healthcare workers goes against everything the NHS stands for. Whilst the buck must stop with abusers, we want to do everything we can to prevent physical and verbal abuse. Issuing paramedics with body cameras will help protect them and increase prosecutions.”
In May the Royal College of Nursing Congress heard calls for nurses to be given body cameras to prevent assaults by violent patients. They revealed how they had been “strangled, stabbed, headbutted, punched, kicked, spat at, slapped and bitten” by patients who turned violent.
A number of trusts have introduced body cameras for some staff, with one scheme finding an 100 per cent reduction in violence against staff after the cameras were brought in.
Latest publish figures show there were 56,435 physical assaults on NHS staff in 2016/17, up 9.7 per cent from 51,447 the year before.
The biggest increase in attacks was in acute hospital trusts, up 21 per cent from 15,469 to 18,720. The numbers related to 181 out of 244 NHS trusts which responded to Freedom of Information requests by Health Service Journal, meaning the true figure could be much higher.
Around half of councils have brought in body cameras for some workers in recent years.
MPs have called for a doubling in maximum prison sentences for common assaults if the victim is an NHS worker, police officer or firefighter.
On Friday, a private members bill on the matter by MP Chris Bryant was given its second reading in the House of Lords.
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/06/30/paramedics-given-body-cameras-protect-violent-patients/