Attacks Continue On Cambs Paramedics

24 attacks were reported by East of England Ambulance crews in Cambridgeshire last year, down from 25 the year before.

Across all of the NHS East of England Ambulance Service area, staff reporting physical assaults has risen by more than 10%.

A total of 140 staff were assaulted in 116 separate incidents in 2010/11, compared to 125 staff assaulted in 94 incidents in 2009/10.

Danny Daniel, Health, Safety and Security Manager for the Trust told Heart: "Assaults against staff, sometimes by the very people they are trying to help, were completely intolerable. He added that the Trust would bring appropriate legal  action against anyone attacking staff.

“The Trust is continuing to encourage more staff to report incidents which figures will reflect. However while the overwhelming majority of the people our staff see are extremely supportive and appreciative of their hard work there is sadly a significant minority whose violent behaviour is absolutely unacceptable.

“These acts of aggression carried out while staff try to go about their day to day work helping those in need not only affects those staff themselves but potentially presents challenges in getting resources out to other incidents.

"The ability of ambulance crews to work safely and unhindered is paramount not only for their own wellbeing but also that of other patients, and we totally condemn any violence carried out against them. Such attacks have potentially very serious consequences.

“The Trust will continue to do all within its power to ensure that appropriate action is taken by the police and Crown Prosecution Service in relation to assaults on staff.  We also train our staff to undertake a risk assessment of every situation they attend."

There were a number of successful prosecutions in 2010/11, including a man found guilty of common assault and sentenced to six weeks imprisonment with a further six weeks suspended for 18 months.  He was also required to compensate the Trust and the staff member assaulted for damages.

The Trust works with the NHS Counter Fraud Security Management Service to monitor instances of violence and follow them up with a view to preventing similar situations from happening in the future.

Incident breakdown by county in 2010/11. Figures for 2009/10 are in brackets.

Beds 11 (7)
Cambs 24 (25)
Essex 26 (24)
Herts 10 (14)
Norfolk 25 (8)
Suffolk 20 (16)