‘It saddens me deeply’ - Chief condemns attacks on ambulance staff in Essex

An East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust ambulance was taken out of action after a violent pat

An East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust ambulance was taken out of action after a violent patient smashed a window. Picture: SIMON PARKER - Credit: Archant

Ambulance chiefs have renewed calls for tougher action against those who carry out “despicable” attacks on NHS workers - after two incidents in Essex over the bank holiday weekend.

Hundreds of life-saving staff from the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust responded to almost 11,000 emergency calls during the three-day period.

During this busy period, a member of EEAST staff was assaulted by a patient in Loughton, Essex, while trying to provide treatment on Monday evening.

It followed a separate incident in Harlow on Friday in which a patient became violent and smashed the window of an ambulance, which was taken off the road until it could be fixed the next day.

EEAST chief executive Robert Morton said: “I am devastated to hear of our caring, dedicated and hard-working staff being attacked whilst they are trying to carry out their valuable work. It saddens me deeply and I wonder how anyone could do this to an NHS worker.

“It is important it is recognised in society as a despicable offence and last month I supported a bill in Parliament to Protect the Protectors and have lobbied Parliament to make an attack against an NHS worker a specific offence.

“We will be working with our police colleagues to ensure justice is done in every instance of our staff being mistreated by the public.”

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EEAST launched the #DontChooseToAbuse campaign in December to encourage people treat ambulance staff with respect.

Mr Morton added: “While vehicles can be replaced, the cost of taking an ambulance off the road for a night can be huge and could have a detrimental impact on the emergency cover we can provide. Ultimately, it can cost lives and we take these offences extremely seriously.”

People can follow #DontChooseToAbuse on social media to show their support.

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