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Attacks by patients 'just part of the job', says paramedic, as assaults soar

Photo: PA

A paramedic who was once locked in a house by a man who threatened to set it on fire says it has become almost 'normal' to be attacked at work.

Alison Blakely has worked for the London Ambulance Service for 11 years and says she cannot even remember how many times she has been attacked.

She was speaking after figures obtained by ITV London show that attacks on ambulance staff went up by 14% last year on the year before.

In 2015/16, there were 439 assaults on London ambulance staff.

Between 2014 and 2014, just 9.8% of assaults resulted in a prosecution.

Credit: ITV London

Once a patient was drunk and I went to his house and he locked me inside and he threatened me and said that he was going to set the house on fire with the gas.

He had a lighter held against the gas in his kitchen so I had to talk him down and it was a really threatening environment and I was on my own.

Once I went to a patient on a bench in a street and I tried to wake him up and he then punched me but I managed to dodge the punch.

He then lunged towards me and pushed me and I tripped over my bag and ended up in the road. He then ran off.

I felt frightened and really quite disappointed, I go out to do the right thing and make things better and not to be able to do that comfortably is really sad. The saddest thing is that we think it's normal but it's not OK and it should never happen.

– Alison Blakely, paramedic
Credit: PA

On average one staff member is assaulted each day in London and staff working in our control room regularly experience verbal abuse while taking emergency calls.

It‘s absolutely unacceptable that our staff are being attacked, or verbally abused while trying to do their job and care for patients.

We will do everything in our power to encourage staff to report these incidents and work with the police and prosecuting authorities to make sure those responsible are dealt with through the courts.

– Paul Woodrow, London Ambulance Service