Cumbria ambulance crews attacked as they attend emergency calls
Last updated at 11:51, Saturday, 02 February 2013
Ambulance crews are coming under attack while they try to save lives across Cumbria.
Figures, released to the News & Star under Freedom of Information laws, show that in Cumbria last year medics were assaulted at a rate of more than one per month.
In 2011 figures were even higher.
They were condemned by Ged Blezard, the North West Ambulance Service’s (NWAS) acting director of paramedic emergency services.
He said: “Our ambulance crews work tirelessly in all weathers, day and night, to come to the aid of people who need our help and should be able to do so without fear of assault, either physical or verbal.
“Despite my many years working for the ambulance service, I still find it difficult to comprehend why an individual would set out to injure someone who is there to help and treat them.”
The figures show that in 2012 there were 13 assaults on ambulance staff – paramedics and other clinicians – while they were out on jobs in Cumbria. The previous year this number was 17.
The NWAS encourages assaulted staff to prosecute the people who attack them.
A spokeswoman gave two examples of the kind of crime which has been committed.
One saw a member of staff forced off work for three days because of a severe injury caused to their shoulder.
The thug responsible was given six months community service, three months curfew and ordered to pay £100 compensation to the victim.
Another incident saw an individual threaten and attack staff and then urinate over equipment in the ambulance.
As a result the vehicle had to be taken off the road to be sterilised.
He was hit with a 12-month community order, a supervision order and ordered to pay an £85 fine and £150 in compensation for the criminal damage caused.
Mr Blezard added: “We go to great lengths to ensure our staff can treat patients in an environment that is safe and secure.”
The service takes part in a number of campaigns to promote staff safety.
“The physiological and psychological effect on staff following an assault can have a detrimental effect; crews are here to care and treat the public, not be attacked by them,” he added.
The figures also show there was one act of vandalism against one of the NWAS’ buildings in Cumbria in 2011 or 2012. The service did not provide any further details of this incident.
This week the Government encouraged hospital staff to share non-confidential information on violent crime connected to patients with the police in the fight against crime.
Systems to do this were set up shortly after the current coalition came to power in 2010 but, currently, only a third of health boards have been found to do this effectively.
First published at 11:07, Saturday, 02 February 2013
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
Anon,So someone with learning difficulties, who requires an ambulance and due to an inability to understand the situation gets aggresive and lashes out should just "take responsibility for themselves"? Really?Perhaps you'd like to read my entire post and not jut cherry pick the point you disagree with?
@ NathanUrine is only sterile when it is in your bladdder, once it has left your body this sterility cannot be guaranteed
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