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North East ambulance equipment theft puts crews and patients at risk

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is used by healthcare workers to protect themselves from infection from COVID 19. Credit: PA

Vital personal protective equipment needed by paramedics to keep themselves and their patients safe has been reported stolen from ambulances across the North East.

In four separate incidents this week, ambulance crews have reported the loss of key equipment whilst treating patients across the region. Each is now being investigated and reported to the police.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is used by healthcare workers to protect themselves from infection from COVID 19 and it also keeps them from infecting other vulnerable patients. Without it, staff may more easily get infected and ill, impacting directly on the region’s 999 ambulance service and subsequently patients calling for help in an emergency.

As a result, all North East Ambulance Service vehicles will now only carry minimal PPE stock.

Douglas McDougall from the North East Ambulance Service spoke to ITV News Tyne Tees:

NHS staff like ours are facing incredible challenges in the current climate, both personally and professionally, but because of their unwavering dedication to the people in our communities, they continue to come to work to help people in their time of need.

“To hear about such selfish acts of theft is incredibly disappointing and we will not tolerate it. The impacts of such acts could severely impede our combined efforts to keep people safe. Those responsible should consider the wider impact that their actions could have on the community and their own emergency care, should they ever need it. “As a result, all vehicles will now carry minimal stocks.

“All of our vehicles are fitted with CCTV and anyone attempting to board one whilst the crew are treating patients is likely to be caught on camera and the footage provided as evidence to the police.”

– Alan Gallagher, Head of Risk, North East Ambulance Service

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