The number of violent attacks on Ambulance staff in our region is on the rise, new figures released today, Thursday November 19 show.
Figures released by NHS Protect show that 195 physical assaults were reported in the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) in 2014/15, compared to 188 assaults in 2013/14.
And criminal sanctions were brought against 90 people who assaulted ambulance staff in the East last year.
There were 28 assaults against EEAST staff in Norfolk and Waveney in 2014/15, 36 in Cambridgeshire and 10 in Suffolk.
Paramedic Nicholas Williams was spat at by a violent man who had been arrested last year.
“From time to time you get verbal abuse, but spitting is the most vile action. We are dealing with people with complex social needs, but there is no excuse for something like this,” he said.
His attacker was ordered to pay £50 compensation and given a community sentence.
A Cambridgeshire paramedic who was bitten on the arm by a drunk patient last November, who was sentenced to an 18 month community order, said: “I have had verbal abuse before, but have never been physically attacked before doing my job.
“It affected me physically and emotionally and I am still physically scarred. After it happened, I was quite worried to go out to similar patients and I was also getting anxious about patients who present as more challenging, such as those with dementia, who have no control over what they are doing.”
Fifty-five of the assaults reported against EEAST staff in 2014/15 involved medical factors. However, 140 assaults did not relate to the patient’s medical condition.
Robert Morton, Chief Executive, said: “The number of physical assaults is a very small percentage of the calls our staff attend. However, violence can have a big impact on our staff who are trying to save lives and provide the best possible care.
“It is unacceptable that our staff experience abuse when they are trying to do their job and it won’t be tolerated. We will seek to prosecute those who assault or abuse our dedicated staff.”