Union condemns violence against paramedics

ambulanceThree paramedics have been attacked outside their ambulance station in Somerset.

The attacks, which took place early yesterday morning in Yeovil, were condemned by UNISON, which upped its campaign against assaults on NHS staff.

UNISON branch secretary Chris Nelson said: “Police were called by a female paramedic who was attacked in uniform while buying a coffee before work at a local petrol station.

“Following the assault the male attacker proceeded to approach the Yeovil Ambulance Station, stopped an ambulance vehicle in the entrance and carried out a further assault of the two ambulance attendants in the vehicle. The members of staff have been taken off duty and have been supported by South Western Ambulance Service Trust.

“We see attacks like this in the course of our duties on a regular basis. Our members come to work to do a crucial and valuable job responding to life and death emergencies and should be free to carry out their vital jobs without being physically assaulted. We thank the Ambulance Service for the support they have offered the staff involved”.

In 2013 a National NHS Survey identified that 32% of staff in South Western Ambulance Service had been assaulted at work in a 12 month period.

UNISON South West regional secretary Joanne Kaye said: “Ambulance staff who already work under immense pressure do not deserve to be under the threat of attack, either on their way into work or during the course of their duties. UNISON will support any of its members who are attacked at work and will continue to campaign against assaults on NHS staff.”

UNISON Head of Health Christina McAnea said: “Millions of patients rely on ambulance staff at some of the most traumatic times in their lives, for their high quality level of care, expertise and good will. But last year, a third of ambulance workers experienced violence in the line of duty. And sadly, they are seen as easy targets especially late at night when the pubs and clubs turn-out.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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