Rise in attacks on 999 staff
Paramedics and staff from East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) are being subjected to increasing numbers of attacks while doing their job - including sexual assaults.
According to figures given to the Spalding Guardian there were 133 incidents of intentional assaults on staff over the last year (2016-2017), with an additional seven sexual assaults which were either physical or verbal.
Since April this year, EMAS says there has already been a rise in attacks across the region with 82 intentional assaults so far and a further six sexual assaults.
EMAS provides emergency 999 services, urgent care and patient transport for people within the East Midlands region, which includes Lincolnshire.
Ambulance technician for EMAS, Ray Woolley, told how he and his team were assaulted after they were called to an incident in Derbyshire this summer.
Nicolas Frost, from Ellistown near Coalville, was jailed for six months on August 9 after the attack on Ray, another ambulance technician and a paramedic.
Police had called an ambulance for Frost when he suffered a minor head injury after he fell over outside a nightclub during the incident on July 8.
When staff arrived he was shouting racial abuse.
He calmed down and let the crew do basic observations, tend to his wounds and begin the journey to hospital.
But seven minutes into the journey, Frost unclipped himself from the stretcher while the ambulance was moving, and became aggressive.
He put one staff member into a headlock and started punching him and ‘donkey-kicked’ another out of the rear doors of the ambulance before punching Ray in the head.
Ray added: “I was petrified. I’ve never been to an incident where there has been that level of violence. It makes me feel vulnerable, and this will stay with me for a long time.”
Mark Ward, Assistant Local Security Management Specialist for EMAS, said: “Our staff work hard every day to deliver the best possible care to the public we serve. Actions like this make their job even harder and we will always take action where we can.
“We have a zero tolerance approach to any level of abuse or assault against our staff.”
EMAS says it provides support for staff for both mental health issues and in trauma risk management. It also provides a Peer to Peer network where staff are available for colleagues when they are in need of emotional support.