Increase in attacks on ambulance staff in Swindon

Attacks on crews have risen

Attacks on crews have risen

First published in News by

AMBULANCE crews have suffered hundreds of assaults including attacks with weapons amid a sharp rise in abuse and dangerous situations over the past two years.

The number of attacks, physical and sexual abuse, entries into unsafe environments and incidents of threatening behaviour in the town rose from 203 in 2010 to 304 last year.

The total up to October this year suffered by staff at Great Western Ambulance Service stands at 181. Out of 688 incidents, about half took place in patients’ homes, 142 in public places and 84 in vehicles. Staff were attacked with weapons eight times between January 2010 and October this year, according to information provided by Great Western Ambulance Service under the Freedom of Information Act.

Crews were also subjected to aggressive behaviour 257 times, suffered 14 incidents of sexual abuse and four of racial abuse.

Staff in A & E were victims of 32 attacks or instances of aggressive physical or verbal behaviour.

A senior training manager and former paramedic, who asked not to be named, said: “A lot of new recruits have joined ambulance services straight after university, while a lot of us old hands have left.

“They haven’t quite got the experience to talk people down in certain situations.

“The job has always been dangerous, I have had a crew held up at gunpoint and there are also psychotics who are very difficult to reason with.

“We do teach conflict resolution but it comes down to experience and the way you talk to people.”

The Great Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust provides emergency and urgent care and patient transport services across Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and the former Avon.

A spokesman said the figures should be seen in the context of the number of emergency 999 incidents attended, which amounted to three quarters of a million over a similar timescale, plus around the same number of patients carried by its pre-arranged transport service.

He added: “While incidents of our staff being assaulted or abused are comparatively rare, even one such incident is totally unacceptable.

“Our staff are committed to looking after patients and it is intolerable that their wellbeing is put at risk while doing that. As a trust, we are committed to working with staff to reduce the number of such incidents and to ensure they are fully supported if they are subject to abuse or assault.”

Measures adopted by GWAS include training in conflict resolution to all frontline staff, encouraging them to pro-actively report incidents and welfare checks including support during any court proceedings.

If an incident takes place at a patient’s home, it is logged for the future so the crew can know the history before attending a 999 call at the same address.

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:12am Wed 21 Nov 12

yourvoice@unison-greatwestern.co.uk says...

This is a worrying trend and a constant source of concern to ambulance staff.

UNISON Great Western Ambulance Branch recommend annual "conflict resolution" or "managing aggression" training but even if this is arranged, this is the first training to be cancelled when 999 demand rises (a process called "REAP") and ambulance staff on the courses pitch in to help with emergencies instead.
This is a worrying trend and a constant source of concern to ambulance staff. UNISON Great Western Ambulance Branch recommend annual "conflict resolution" or "managing aggression" training but even if this is arranged, this is the first training to be cancelled when 999 demand rises (a process called "REAP") and ambulance staff on the courses pitch in to help with emergencies instead. yourvoice@unison-greatwestern.co.uk
  • Score: 0

10:33am Wed 21 Nov 12

Synergie says...

Stop indulging these people who assault ambulance crews. When confronted with violence, the crew should toss them a cheapo first-aid kit and let the low-life patch themselves up.
Stop indulging these people who assault ambulance crews. When confronted with violence, the crew should toss them a cheapo first-aid kit and let the low-life patch themselves up. Synergie
  • Score: 0

10:37am Wed 21 Nov 12

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

Whilst the whole criminal justice system takes a lenient approach to serious crime, this problem will only get worse.

The system lets too many people go either unpunished or have a minor punishment (suspended sentences, community service) for crimes of assault, ABH, GBH and so on.
Whilst the whole criminal justice system takes a lenient approach to serious crime, this problem will only get worse. The system lets too many people go either unpunished or have a minor punishment (suspended sentences, community service) for crimes of assault, ABH, GBH and so on. LordAshOfTheBrake
  • Score: 0

10:53am Wed 21 Nov 12

PaulD says...

there shoud be a new class of crime of assault on an emergency worker, i.e. on a par with assault on a police officer and shoud carry a mandatory jail term
there shoud be a new class of crime of assault on an emergency worker, i.e. on a par with assault on a police officer and shoud carry a mandatory jail term PaulD
  • Score: 0

10:56am Wed 21 Nov 12

I 2 Could B says...

The Unison contribution above almost beggars belief and goes some way to explaining why their ambulance teams members are routinely being criminally and violently attacked.

Forget ridiculous 'conflict resolution' training (which, based on the statistics in the article, isn't worth the training fees we're paying for) and get the unions actually doing something useful for once and lobby the government to implement new legislation to ensure that *anyone* who assaults a member of ambulance staff while carrying out their job is given a mandatory 3-month prison sentence.

No ifs, no buts, no 'I waz on drugz', no 'I'm mentally ill, when I want to be' and no acceptance of the lies from their defence lawyers.

Assault an ambulance worker - go to jail for 7 weeks. That simple.

Then come back and tell us the same statistics in 1 year's time, as I'd guess it'd have plummeted to about 20% of what it is now.

The big question here is why the unions, the NHS management, the courts and the government don't appear to want to protect such vital workers.
The Unison contribution above almost beggars belief and goes some way to explaining why their ambulance teams members are routinely being criminally and violently attacked. [p] Forget ridiculous 'conflict resolution' training (which, based on the statistics in the article, isn't worth the training fees we're paying for) and get the unions actually doing something useful for once and lobby the government to implement new legislation to ensure that *anyone* who assaults a member of ambulance staff while carrying out their job is given a mandatory 3-month prison sentence. [p] No ifs, no buts, no 'I waz on drugz', no 'I'm mentally ill, when I want to be' and no acceptance of the lies from their defence lawyers. [p] Assault an ambulance worker - go to jail for 7 weeks. That simple. [p] Then come back and tell us the same statistics in 1 year's time, as I'd guess it'd have plummeted to about 20% of what it is now. [p] The big question here is why the unions, the NHS management, the courts and the government don't appear to want to protect such vital workers. I 2 Could B
  • Score: 0

11:50am Wed 21 Nov 12

anonpete says...

PaulD there is such an offence and you can go to jail, whether you do is a completley different matter though
PaulD there is such an offence and you can go to jail, whether you do is a completley different matter though anonpete
  • Score: 0

12:07pm Wed 21 Nov 12

I 2 Could B says...

anonpete wrote:
PaulD there is such an offence and you can go to jail, whether you do is a completley different matter though
Indeed. Sadly, and as ever, the legislation is already there to deal with these criminals, it's just that our courts and judges choose not to use it properly.

This is yet another instance where the government needs to intervene and introduce a *mandatory* sentence for these crimes, such that the judiciary are unable to hand down any other sentence.

The judiciary routinely complain that their 'hands are tied' when attempting to explain their unduly lenient sentences, so let's really tie their hands and ensure they must give out appropriate sentences for those who assault ambulance and other NHS workers.
[quote][p][bold]anonpete[/bold] wrote: PaulD there is such an offence and you can go to jail, whether you do is a completley different matter though[/p][/quote]Indeed. Sadly, and as ever, the legislation is already there to deal with these criminals, it's just that our courts and judges choose not to use it properly. [p] This is yet another instance where the government needs to intervene and introduce a *mandatory* sentence for these crimes, such that the judiciary are unable to hand down any other sentence. [p] The judiciary routinely complain that their 'hands are tied' when attempting to explain their unduly lenient sentences, so let's really tie their hands and ensure they must give out appropriate sentences for those who assault ambulance and other NHS workers. I 2 Could B
  • Score: 0

12:28pm Wed 21 Nov 12

Highworth Lad says...

PaulD wrote:
there shoud be a new class of crime of assault on an emergency worker, i.e. on a par with assault on a police officer and shoud carry a mandatory jail term
Agreed, shame they dont send them there.
If A&E or ambulance crews are abused in any way, tell them to jog on and fix them selves up. Sod them, why should the even bother. I wouldnt...
[quote][p][bold]PaulD[/bold] wrote: there shoud be a new class of crime of assault on an emergency worker, i.e. on a par with assault on a police officer and shoud carry a mandatory jail term[/p][/quote]Agreed, shame they dont send them there. If A&E or ambulance crews are abused in any way, tell them to jog on and fix them selves up. Sod them, why should the even bother. I wouldnt... Highworth Lad
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree