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Body cameras not on agenda for National Ambulance Service

This is despite the ongoing major risk to paramedics and ambulance staff who are exposed to “violence and aggression” at work, according to the NAS.

NAS staff often work in extremely challenging environments and according to the NAS Risk Register, as of October last year, there was an ongoing “risk to the health, safety and welfare of NAS staff, who can be exposed to difficult and uncontrolled environments and sometimes volatile situations”.

The register outlines the major risk in detail, adding that exposure to these situations can result in staff injury and absences and “increased level of stress on staff”.

A pilot is currently ongoing in the NHS, where staff are given body cameras to wear during the course of their duties to help protect them from violence.

However, a spokesperson for the NAS said it is “not at this time pursuing body cameras for staff”, although they added the devices may be considered in the future.  

As part of a number of measures to reduce staff exposure to volatile situations, an ongoing review by the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) of high-risk locations is underway.

Earlier this month, a Dublin Fire Brigade paramedic was attacked by a patient in the city centre.

At least 142 HSE staff received payments under the HSE Assault at Work Scheme/Serious Physical Assault Scheme in 2015, at a cost to the State of €1.2 million.

Data shows that up August 2016, 71 HSE staff members were paid under the Scheme, at a cost of at least €424,000.

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