Assaults on ambulance staff continue despite government strategy
At the end of last year the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act came into effect promising tougher sentences and more action in a bid to reduce the number of attacks on emergency workers in the UK.
Despite this the numbers have remained high and a recent report published by West Midlands Ambulance Service showed an increase in the number of physical and verbal assaults in April and May 2019 compared with the same months in 2018.
Damage to property may have decreased but it hasn’t stopped completely with two ambulances in the West Midlands region vandalised over one weekend earlier this month. These vehicles then had to be removed from use while being repaired leaving less available for those in need.
One female paramedic in the East of England was attacked so viciously that she was left covered in bruises with black eyes. Her attacker pushed her to the floor of the ambulance continuing to punch her and more than one police officer was needed to drag him off. The East of England Ambulance Service have started a ‘Don’t Choose to Abuse’ campaign to remind people of the consequences of their behaviour.
In addition to the new government regulations ambulance staff have been trialling body-worn cameras in an attempt to deter and prevent the abuse they receive while doing their job. The cameras are widely used by police and prison officers and are also being introduced in hospitals.
It’s normal now to see security guards patrolling hospital grounds; if we can’t reduce the number of attacks on paramedics will we begin seeing security guards in ambulances?