Ambulance service warns assaults on staff 'won't be tolerated' after big rise in incidents

An East of England ambulance. Credit: PA

The East of England Ambulance Service has launched a new campaign warning that assaults on staff won't be tolerated following a rise in the the number of incidents.

According to the trust, there were 250 incidents of assault and verbal abuse against staff between March and June.

The Choose Respect! campaign features images of injuries suffered by workers along with quotes about how they were assaulted while on duty.

In one example, a 27-year-old Emergency Medical Technician from Thetford called Alex described how he had to have more than a week off work after he was attacked by a drunk patient.

"I dodged the punch, but didn’t expect the head-butt. The security team and two passing prison guards came to my assistance, and the police took him away," he said.

“There was no major damage, but I was off work for a week and a half as I couldn’t drive because of headaches. And I had a black eye for three weeks."

Chief Executive Dorothy Hosein is hopeful the campaign will make people realise that assaults on staff will never be acceptable.

The campaign features images of injured workers. Credit: East of England Ambulance Service

This has to stop. There were 250 incidents between March 1 and June 11 this year alone.

Dorothy Hosein, East of England Ambulance Service Chief Executive

“We are seeing a steady increase in assaults and abuse, year-on-year from just over 1,000 incidents in 2015-16 to over 1,300 in 2018-19," Chief Executive Dorothy Hosein said.

“No-one deserves to be abused at work, but we will not tolerate our staff – who are only ever there to help people – being abused and left unable to work, at a time when the public really needs them.

“We will always support our staff and work with the police to secure convictions and the strongest penalties wherever appropriate.”