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Mental health trust monitoring

Nineteen mental health units at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust have recently had IP network based video monitoring systems fitted.

The trust sought to unobtrusively monitor patients. It provides care for over 40,000 people with mental health problems. Although some of the mental health units are secure, most allow free movement of patients. The trust therefore, looked for video monitoring to alert nursing and support staff so that they can react quickly and appropriately to any situation.

Mark Milliard, Capital Projects Manager at the trust, said: “We are committed to the ‘Safewards’ initiative’, a key aim of which is to reduce the rates of conflict in in-patient mental health settings. We believe that the use of smart technology, such as IP network based video monitoring systems, can play a large role in helping us achieve this objective.”

Migration to IP

Mark, who has worked within NHS Estates since 1986, has over recent years overseen the migration of the trust’s analogue CCTV systems to video over IP. “The analogue systems that were installed a number of years ago became increasingly unreliable and we made the decision to upgrade them with IP network based systems. A key advantage of being able to transmit images over the network is that it provides the flexibility for any authorised user to view live or recorded video captured by any of the cameras from their PCs. We realised that this would provide us with much more flexibility in terms of how we monitor activity at the mental health units, compared to the analogue CCTV systems which could only transmit captured images to a central location.”

In compliance with the trust’s obligation to achieve best value from its spend, Mark initiated a tender process and invited a number of installation companies to submit proposals to install and service video monitoring systems at each of the 19 locations. The tender document specified which cameras should be installed.

WiseNetIII cameras

Mark said: “It made sense to source the cameras from just one manufacturer and from an ongoing maintenance point of view, to deploy the minimum possible number of different camera models. I decided, therefore, to carry out my own research as to which manufacturer had a product portfolio which could best cover all our requirements, as well as offering us the value we were looking for. Part of the value formulae had to include a rock solid reputation for reliability, as well as cameras with advanced technical features which would allow us to capture and monitor high definition images, regardless of the location or environmental conditions.”

Mark’s evaluation of a large number of manufacturers resulted in a shortlist of two. Samsung Techwin emerged as the winner. He said: “Both companies were able to show evidence as to the reliability of their cameras. However, I was particularly impressed with the quality of the images which could be captured by the Samsung Techwin cameras and the fact that each camera, depending on its location, could be configured to multi-stream images at different frame rates and at different resolutions. This offers a significant benefit from a network bandwidth management point of view.”

Mark established that only three Samsung Techwin cameras would need to be specified to provide coverage of areas both inside and outside all 19 of the units. All three models are part of the WiseNetIII camera range and include the SNV-6084R vandal-resistant 2MP Full HD network dome, which has built in infra-red LEDs to enable images of any activity to be captured, regardless of the lighting, the makers say. Mark also selected the SNO-6084R weather resistant bullet cameras which come with a motorised varifocal lens and built-in IR illuminators. The third model specified was the SNV-6012 2MP Full HD vandal-resistant flat dome.


The installation of IP network based video surveillance systems at the 19 mental health units has been carried out in phases and, after the tender, the contract for phase three of the project was awarded to ACW Electrical Suffolk Ltd. Tony Wheatley, a director of Ipswich-based ACW said: “We sourced the Samsung Techwin products from Blue Helix, who are a leading specialist distributor of IP network solutions. We worked closely together with the Blue Helix technical team to ensure we could complete the project to the satisfaction of Mark Milliard and his colleagues. As this was the first time we had installed Samsung Techwin cameras, we arranged for our engineers to attend a Samsung Techwin training course so that they would be able to configure each camera for optimum performance. The good news is that the cameras were extremely easy to install, which added to our ability to complete the contract without any delays or issues.”

The images from all of the cameras are recorded onto Samsung Techwin SRN-1670D NVRs. The makers say these have been designed to have the look and familiarity of a DVR, while delivering all the benefits of a network video recorder (NVR). Unlike most NVRs, which can only be programmed remotely, the SRN-1670D can be locally controlled with the help of a mouse and an use on-screen display. The SRN-1670D has the capacity for five SATA HDDs, offering the potential for a massive 10TB of on-board storage. It can record audio across all channels and has a built-in DVD writer and USB ports for export of video evidence. Visit


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