Two more assaults on ambulance crews overnight
"Enough is enough"
Two more ambulance crews were attacked on Monday night – one with a 9-inch kitchen knife - after being called to patients reporting potentially life-threatening injuries.
The latest assaults are part of a pattern of increasing attacks on staff. On the Saturday before last, three crews were assaulted in separate incidents which left two ambulance workers seeking hospital treatment.
Paul Liversidge, deputy chief executive of North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), said: “Enough is enough. This despicable behaviour is harming my staff and putting the lives of other patients at risk when we’re unable to respond to the next emergency because of an assault.
“I am sending a clear message to those who think it’s okay to attack my staff that we will not tolerate this behaviour. I will support my crews with the full weight of this organisation to prosecute those individuals and ensure that the courts act not just to punish those who attack emergency workers, but that their sentences also act as a deterrent for others who believe this is acceptable behaviour.”
Last night, a crew was attacked in Choppington after being called to a patient who was reported as unconscious and not breathing. Two ambulance crews and a rapid response paramedic attended and were able to revive the patient, who then started lashing out.
One paramedic reported that the patient spat into their eye and slapped them. When the crew retreated to the safety of their vehicle, they were chased by the patient while armed with a 9-inch kitchen knife. He began hitting the side of the ambulance with the handle of the knife and trying to break a window before police arrived and arrested him.
The patient was so violent he had to be transported to hospital in the back of a police van. The ambulance crew were checked over at Northumbria Hospital, but thankfully were not seriously harmed.
In a separate incident in the early hours of this morning, an ambulance paramedic was violently punched in the stomach while treating a patient for a stab wound in the Langley Park area of County Durham. The paramedic was too badly injured to continue her shift and is now currently off work.