Increase in assaults on London Ambulance Service staff

24 August 2016

More medics in London are being physically attacked according to new figures released today. 

A total of 439 physical assaults on ambulance staff were recorded last year (2015/16) – an increase of 14 per cent from 2014/15 (up from 385).   

On average one staff member is assaulted each day in London and staff working in our control room regularly experience verbal abuse while taking emergency calls.

Paul Woodrow, Director of Operations, said: “It‘s absolutely unacceptable that our staff are being attacked, or verbally abused while trying to do their job and care for patients.  We will do everything in our power to encourage staff to report these incidents and work with the police and prosecuting authorities to make sure those responsible are dealt with through the courts.

"All of our frontline staff receive training about what to do in a potentially confrontational situation and are equipped with protective clothing to wear. They also have access to digital radios so that they can call for help if they need it and there is an emergency button, which automatically connects to our control room, so police help can be requested immediately.”

Assaults on our staff range from verbal abuse to physical attacks and around fifty members of our staff are spat on each year. The Service has introduced spit kits this year, which means that the police can process samples recovered from staff and send them for DNA analysis to help identify offenders and bring them to justice.

Tim Weekes, who was spat at by a patient three years ago, said: “I’ve been assaulted a few times while working as a paramedic, but one of the most offensive times was when a colleague and I were spat at while trying to treat a patient at Hammersmith.

“We reported the incident and thankfully the person was prosecuted. These spit kits are a great idea and make it even easier for the police prosecute people who treat us this way while we’re trying to help patients.”

ENDS

Editor’s notes

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