The emergency services – designed to be there for us in our hour of need, all too often fall victim to abuse and attacks from the people they are trying to help. The culprits, in most cases, are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
According to data from South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAMB), there were 98 reported attacks on paramedics in 2011-12. Just 3 years on, this figure jumped to 126 reported attacks for 2014-15, and rose again last year to a staggering 184.
Although these figures are alarming, it is likely they take in to account only a proportion of the incidents that take place. Paramedics feel dissuaded to report attacks as any pending investigations take them away from performing their duties.
SECAMB Security Manager, Adam Graham said current safety measures included; CCTV, risk assessments and conflict resolution training, but has called for a government-led task force to tackle the problem more thoroughly.
In an example of the violence faced by our ambulance service, paramedic Gemma Fitzgerald suffered a broken jaw whilst trying to help