West Suffolk Hospital CCTV made fit for purpose

Video surveillance specialist, Puls Global Ltd has completed an upgrade of West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust’s Wavestore video recording system which has resulted in an extension of the life of the existing analogue CCTV cameras, whilst expanding video surveillance coverage of the hospital by introducing new IP network cameras.

It is sadly a familiar story throughout the NHS. Nurses, doctors and administrators being verbally or physically attacked by the very same people they are seeking to help. More often than not it is as a result of alcohol abuse but whatever the reason West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust is determined to fully exercise a zero tolerance policy to any criminal activity including theft and malicious damage to property and equipment.

The existing analogue cameras were not sufficient to cover all areas of the hospital buildings and grounds, with 77 thefts reported at a variety of locations throughout the hospital last year, including the A&E department, wards and car park, the CCTV system clearly needed to be expanded to deter and detect this criminal activity, as well as create a safe working environment for staff.

Set in a 19-hectare parkland site on the edge of Bury St Edmunds, the West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust, which has approximately 480 beds, serves an area with a population of approximately 275,000. When it moved to its current site, it was the first of a new breed of hospitals to be known as “Best Buy” hospitals which had a standard, compact and economical design. e storage capacity within the existing Rock digital video recorders, and increasing the IP video licenses for each of the three machines to accommodate the 27 additional network attached cameras.

The Rock is a ‘hybrid’ digital video recording solution for users who may wish to deploy a combination of analogue and IP network cameras. Up to 64 channels can be recorded simultaneously from a combination of different types of cameras with a choice of H.264, MxPEG, MPEG-4 or MJPEG compression, to ensure best use of the available bandwidth and to minimise video storage requirements.

Jim Pretty, Local Security Management Specialist for the Hospital Trust, outlined the reasons behind the decision to go ahead with Puls Global’s recommendation. “The existing CCTV system had done a really great job over a number of years but was no longer sufficient for our needs. In order to fully implement our zero tolerance policy in respect of abuse of our staff it is important that we capture high quality video of any incidents to pass on to the police as evidence. We were happy to accept Puls Global’s advice to add IP network cameras and upgrade the existing Rock recorders as we had always been impressed with their very fast search and evidence back-up functions.”

The upgrade of the CCTV system was completed in March 2011 to the satisfaction of Jim Pretty and the Hospital Trust. “We now have a video surveillance system which is truly fit for purpose. It will help us safeguard the trust’s assets and, if incidents do occur, make it easier for us to provide evidence for a prosecution. It also gives the opportunity to add further cameras in the future if required,” said Jim.

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