Shame of assaults on our 999 crews

Date published: 06 July 2010

AMBULANCE staff in the North-West suffer the second highest number of assaults in England, according to a trade union.

The GMB union, which represents ambulance staff, said figures showed that North West Ambulance Service staff suffered 403 assaults between April, 2007 to March, 2009.

Out of the 11 NHS ambulance trusts in the country, only the London Ambulance Service fared worse with 1,106 assaults.

The figures come from the union’s new analysis of NHS assault data.

In the North-West, there was a further 619 reported verbal assaults during the same two-year period.

Fewer than half of all physical assaults against staff in the region resulted in a prosecution.

Nationally, GMB said figures showed there were 2,705 assaults on staff across all 11 ambulance trusts in England.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer for ambulance services, said: “Every single day at least three ambulance workers are assaulted while doing their jobs.

“That is as shocking as it is unacceptable.

“Being attacked at work is not an occupational hazard for ambulance workers and the only way to confront this issue is with zero tolerance.

“Ambulance workers deserve full protection from their employers and the law.”

Mr Bowden said the figures for prosecutions in North-West showed that there was some way to go before zero tolerance was achieved. He said: “In some trusts, there is an automatic recourse to law regarding damage to property but not on attacks on staff.

“Also, in one authority there is a proposal to remove stab- proof vests as a protection to staff. A change of attitude by management is needed on this.”

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