Rise in attacks on North East ambulance staff
Figures show slight increase on previous year
Physical assaults on ambulance staff in the North East have
increased slightly over the last 12-months.
Figures released by NHS Protect show North East Ambulance
Service employees suffered 59 physical assaults during 2010/11 - an
increase of three on the previous year.
However, overall assaults on NEAS staff were lower than the
national average for English ambulance services.
There were also 115 reports of non-physical assaults in the
North East during 20010/11 - down six on the previous year.
Nationally, there were 57,830 physical assaults on NHS staff
last year - an increase of 1,112 on the previous 12-months.
David Edwards, NEAS Risk Officer/Local Security Management
Specialist (LSMS), said:"Violence and abuse is completely
unacceptable and should always be treated as such. It is not part
of the job and we continue to look at avenues for reducing the risk
of incidents of violence and aggression occurring.
"We now have CCTV cameras in 51 A&E frontline ambulances -
half of our fleet. That is definitely assisting in reviewing
reported incidents, investigation, seeking prosecutions and
"Our staff and patient safety is a key priority - it is a sad
reflection of our society that our staff have to experience this
sort of behaviour when all they are trying to do is help members of
NEAS has taken steps to streamline the process of reporting
assaults in recent years, making it easier for staff to report
incidents. This has led to an increase in reported incidents across
the North East.
Twenty-two prosecutions were secured during 2010/11 compared to
the 13 during
Assaults not tolerated
Paul Liversidge, Director of Operations for the North East
Ambulance Service, said: "It is a sad fact our staff are
continuously subjected to verbal and physical assaults in one form
or another and we will not tolerate this.
"We encourage our staff to report any violent or abusive
incident through our agreed reporting process and we will support
and encourage staff to pursue the issue through the correct
"During their induction course all A&E staff training which
helps them deal with abusive and violent patients. We also
have measures in place in our contact centre that which help the
operators identify potential volatile situations so they are able
to advise the crews on the most appropriate response.
"We advise and support crews if they attend a call in which they
feel vulnerable to leave the scene and wait in their vehicle until
the police arrive.
"Our crews should not expect to be threatened or injured when
they're called to help injured patients."
Joel Byers, the North East Ambulance Service's representative
for Unison said:"Unison are pleased to see the hard work being done
by the trust and the union nationally and locally to reduce
physical and verbal assaults on our members. We would like to see
this trend repeated year on year until it's zero."