Shock figures reveal two in five Midlands paramedics attacked in 12 months
Two out of every five paramedics in the West Midlands say they have been attacked in the last year, according to a shock new report.
Staff at West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) posted the highest figure of any trust in the country when asked if they had experienced physical violence from patients, relatives or the public in last 12 months.
And an NHS reviews of ambulance trusts by Lord Carter of Coles said that the actual percentage of assaults could be far higher, as assaults against staff are no longer recorded nationally since NHS Protect was abolished.
The figures in the review were calculated using staff surveys and local trust reporting.
Last night, the service said there had been 171 attacks on staff since April. There were 410 in 2017/18.
The review, which praised WMAS for its efficiency, said 40 per cent of its staff had come under attack in the last year. Of the other nine trusts, South West Ambulance Service Trust recorded the lowest rate of assaults, with 28 per cent of staff saying they had been attacked.
The report says: "Violent attacks against NHS staff have not been recorded nationally since the abolition of NHS Protect, which leaves the voluntary NHS Staff Survey and local reporting mechanisms as the only indicators.
"This means that actual percentages may be much higher. We analysed the levels of physical violence that staff experienced and found considerable variation between trusts."
Nationally, more than 350 prosecutions have been brought for attacks on ambulance staff over the last year.
Concerns over the high number of attacks have led to the launch of a new pilot scheme which will see 465 ambulances and their paramedics equipped with body cameras, with the potential for a full roll-out to all paramedics and other priority areas.
The report adds: "The use of this technology will help protect staff."
Service spokesman Murray MacGregor said: "The trust works hard to encourage staff to report violence because it is not acceptable.
"The chief executive has been clear that he will push for prosecution against anyone who attacks staff who are doing their best to help the public."
Research has shown that staff who experience violence in the workplace are four times more likely to take sick leave than those experiencing any other type of work injury
The report also showed that WMAS has lowest staff turnover rate of any trust in the country, at nine per cent.