Shock rise in paramedic assaults

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AN alarming number of paramedics have been assaulted while on duty across the borough.

A report issued by NHS Protect has revealed that from April 1 2010 to March 31 2011 there has been 268 reported physical assaults on crew members working for North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) across the North West.

And of those 268 assaults, sanctions have been brought against 68 incidents.

Despite the fact the NHS Trust encourages its staff to report any abuse they suffer – and operates a zero tolerance approach to any kind of abuse of its staff, the figures show a 53 per cent increase on the number of incidents reported the previous year and demonstrate that violence and aggression against ambulance crews across the North West continues.

Today an ambulance boss warned people they face court action if they are accused of abusing ambulance staff.

Derek Cartwright, director of the emergency service at NWAS, said: “We are here to serve the people of the North West. It is intolerable that our crews have to face this sort of abuse whilst doing their job and we will not accept any violence or aggression towards them, our equipment or vehicles.

“People are being imprisoned and receiving serious convictions for such behaviour towards our crews and we will continue to work hard to fully support our staff and encourage them to report incidents of this nature to the police.

“Anyone who abuses ambulance staff is putting the public at risk.

“Ambulance crews facing abuse can be taken off duty and their vehicle off the road, meaning vital resources are unavailable to respond to life threatening emergencies.”