AMBULANCE crews are struggling to reach people who have been knifed because they don't have stab-proof vests, a worker has said.

An ambulance man has said crews are forced to wait until the police come while victims bleed.

He said crews face knifings and glassing call-outs every weekend in Swindon as stabbings are on the rise.

"We are told to wait outside for the police but trying to explain that to someone whose relative is bleeding is difficult," said the crew member who does not wish to be named.

"We have to buckle down and go in.

"It is frustrating to wait, but the police are so busy, like us.

"Most Friday and Saturday nights there is some incident involving a knife or glass."

On Friday night he entered a house in Toothill when an attacker was present potentially putting his life in danger.

"A woman was stabbed in the head by her brother," he said.

"The girlfriend of the lady who had been stabbed said the assailant was gone so I went in.

"There was so much shouting and they were screaming Sort her head out'.

"Later, when the police turned up, they said the attacker was still there the whole time.

"The woman told me he had gone because they wanted the injury dealt with, which is understandable,"

Swindon police have stab-proof vests while on duty and they are also available to ambulance paramedics in London.

The ambulance worker believes the vests would cost too much for the Great Western Ambulance Trust.

"They won't supply them to us as they are too expensive as they have to be measured for each person," the crew member said. "They say there aren't enough knife attacks to warrant them.

"I don't know what it is going to take - one of us may have to be stabbed to make them realise.

"We've been telling our bosses we need stab vests for years.

"Working weekends here, we deal with assault after assault in town. We have got used to it now - it is normally glassings, stabbings, fist and feet.

"Usually when there are weapons involved they are gone before we arrive, but not always."

A Great Western Ambulance spokeswoman said: "It is simply not true to say we are ignoring staff calls for stab vests. The Great Western Ambulance Service takes the safety of its crews extremely seriously.

"Nationally, ambulance trusts have conducted a risk assessment and decided not to provide stab vests as standard issue to crews. But we keep this under constant review to reflect changing circumstances."

The call for stab vests comes after a female paramedic was pulled out of an ambulance by an angry mob in Bristol while she tried to treat a dying man.

Sarah Hodierne arrived to treat Mahamoud Muse Hassan who had been stabbed in the neck in St Paul's on Sunday.

A 16-year-old girl and a 22-year-old man have been arrested in connection with the murder.