A man from Bath who spat in a paramedic's eye while he was being looked after by emergency services crews has been sentenced to 32 weeks in prison.
It comes as the number of assaults on staff from South Western Ambulance Service continues to rise.
Newly qualified paramedics Dan Williams and Kyiah Ellis were responding to reports of a man unconscious on a bus when they faced the abuse in February this year.
Their patient was physically and verbally aggressive, head-butting the bus as well as punching a car. He then spat in Dan's eye and verbally abused them both.
The man was arrested at the scene and both paramedics have welcomed his prosecution.
He was sentenced to 32 weeks in prison and ordered to pay £300 pounds in compensation to the victims at Bath Magistrates' Court on 15 February.
Dan and Kyiah said: "We are disappointed that simply doing our job, and ultimately likely saving the life of the patient, resulted in us being assaulted and fearing for our own safety. Assaults against our ambulance colleagues are never acceptable, and leave a lasting effect on those there simply to help.”
Members of South Western Ambulance Service are currently facing an average of almost five incidents of violence or aggression every day.
The figures, from 24 March 2020 to 23 March 2021, include 515 verbal abuse incidents, 447 aggressive behaviour incidents, and 322 physical assaults.
This represents a 33% increase in the number of incidents reported, compared to the 12 months before the first coronavirus lockdown.
Matt Bryant is another Paramedic who was abused when on duty in Plymouth. He welcomed the jailing of a man for six months on 28 January.
Paramedic Mike Jones, SWASFT’s Violence Reduction Lead, said: “Sadly our people are victim every day to unacceptable behaviour from a minority of patients and other members of the public, while they are serving the communities of the South West and saving lives. Any such incident can have a lasting impact on them, their loved ones, and other colleagues.
“We take whatever is necessary to protect our people from harm, including doing all we can to ensure offenders are prosecuted through the criminal justice system.
“Please respect our people, and help them to help you.”