No-one should be attacked at work

Ambulance crews call for help in combating assaults on crews.

Ambulance staff are calling on the public to show their disgust at people who abuse them after another sickening weekend of violence and aggression.

On Friday night, ambulance staff on duty at the Trust’s City Centre Treatment Unit on Broad Street in Birmingham bore the brunt of the abuse. Paramedic Mike Duggan, who runs the CCTU each weekend to help reduce A&E attendance by treating patients on site, was subjected to not one but three instances of verbal abuse.

Mike said: “One man who was intoxicated became abusive to me and a crew and his language made it perfectly clear that he didn’t want our help. Another man we’d been sent to help became verbally abusive and, as well as telling us to ‘go away’ in less polite terms, he also told me that he wished me dead. Another case later on in the evening saw us respond to a woman who had been punched. Whilst we were trying to treat her injuries, she became abusive and so did her partner; as well as being uncooperative, she used inappropriate and offensive language towards us. Thank you to West Midlands Police for their support and assistance.”

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Birmingham a female student paramedic was punched in the arm by a heavily intoxicated woman. The woman was restrained by police and was arrested along with her partner who threatened to kill our staff.

Mike Duggan said: “It is disgusting that any ambulance staff, who come to work purely to help people, are subjected to this level of abuse and violence. Despite this, we turn up for duty each shift and continue to provide a first class service to people in their hour of need. Sadly, these incidents occur regularly and despite our best efforts and those of the police, it appears that they are increasing.

“I would like to see a mandatory sentence introduced for anyone who assaults any member of the emergency services. We hope that the public will show their disgust and make sure their friends, family and colleagues don’t act in such a despicable way.”

Elsewhere in the region on Friday, an ambulance technician was assaulted by a patient in Cannock causing bruises and scratches. The patient was arrested by police, restrained and taken to hospital.

On Saturday, the Trust’s control room reported a number of hoax and abusive 999 calls that had been made by children from the Bilston area wasting valuable call assessors time. Motorcycle paramedic Mark Hayes was also subjected to abuse on Sunday afternoon in Birmingham when he was sent to treat a patient. He tweeted via @999flymo: “Last pt became hostile after demanding entonox & to be taken to hospital not appropriate for area. Pt then became abusive & told me to leave.”

Steve Elliker, West Midlands Ambulance Service’s Head of Security and Safety added: “This weekend alone I’ve received 10 reports from staff of them being abused whilst at work; five were actual physical assaults and another five verbal abuse. It is sickening to hear that our staff endure abuse by the very people they are trying to help.

“The Trust has a zero tolerance policy in place and works extremely hard to bring the full weight of the law to bear on anyone who attacks our staff. It is simply not acceptable that staff who are there to help people, suffer at the hands of patients, their relatives or other people at the scene.”