Attacks on Midlands ambulance staff rise again

Attacks on ambulance staff have risen for the third straight year, new figures have revealed.

West Midlands Ambulance Service staff, who cover Shropshire, have been victims of 525 verbal assaults and 362 physical assaults during the current financial year.

Verbal assaults are up from 473 between April 2015 and March 2016 and 398 the previous year.

Physical assaults have increased from 298 between April 2015 and March 2016 and 231 the previous year.

In the West Mercia area, there were 100 verbal assaults in the last year, up from 73 the previous one.

These included 86 intentional assaults where the assailant deliberately assaulted trust staff, 11 related to mental health issues and three associated with clinical/medical factors.

There were 68 physical assaults in the West Mercia area in the past year, up from 56 the previous year.

These included 45 intentional ones, 17 related to mental health issues and six associated with clinical/medical factors.

The figures show West Midlands Ambulance Service has the third highest number of assaults within the 10 UK ambulance trusts once again.

They have been revealed in a report of the West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.

The report states: "Following a review of the violence and aggression figures for the 12-month period April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017 it is concerning that the number of incidents recorded have exceeded 350 physical assaults on trust staff.

"Unfortunately, this continues with the ongoing trend over the last few years.

"Once again West Midlands Ambulance Service had the third highest number of assaults within the 10 UK ambulance trusts, which not only reflects cultural changes, but also the additional rise in activity trusts.

"Employees of the trust have the right to work without fear of violence or intimidation.

"To this end, the trust has a duty of care to its employees and as such will take whatever action is appropriate to mitigate risks of harm.

"Failure to carry out this duty could result in civil and at the most extreme criminal action against the board of directors.

"The trust will always support staff who are injured and if necessary provide appropriate evidence to support any criminal prosecution if its staff are assaulted.

"Update Conflict Resolution Training was included within the mandatory training for 2017/18. Risk assessments are reviewed on a regular basis to review if the risk grading and actions required have changed."

The report states the executive team has recently considered the use of body worn CCTV cameras for front line staff.

"This initiative will continue to be reviewed and considered as circumstances dictate," the report adds.

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