Paramedics' no-go homes without police

AMBULANCE crews will not attend more than 700 homes in the region without a police escort, it has been revealed.

Lizzie Parry

AMBULANCE crews will not attend more than 700 homes in the region without a police escort, it has been revealed.

The East of England Ambulance service said last night 731 addresses in the East of England are flagged up for caution by crews because of the risk of verbal abuse, violence or sexual assault.

They will not attend the addresses without a police escort.

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In Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire 406 houses are currently on a risk register and a further 50 properties in Essex are considered potentially problematic.

A spokesperson for the East of England Ambulance service said there had been one occasion when a crew member had been the victim of a sexual assault.

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She added: “There will always be a balance to be struck between ensuring staff safety and getting to people who need urgent care who are potentially a danger.

“It goes without saying that the safety of our staff is of paramount importance and the trust works closely with the police to ensure that risk is minimised.”

She also appealed to the public to give ambulance crews the easiest possible working conditions and allow them to do their jobs.

The procedure of flagging properties with caution does not result in a permanent need for caution on the part of paramedics. The properties are reviewed every six months to ensure changing circumstances are accounted for.

David Ruffley, MP for Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and Needham Market said: “It is a sad commentary in this day and age that caring professionals from the ambulance service can't go into crime hotspots for fear of being attacked.

“That is why we must re-double our efforts to slash police red tape so they can spend more time on the beat in these areas, giving any police protection our ambulance crews require.”

In the UK as a whole 8,511 homes are highlighted as problematic and flagged for caution and a further 275 in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, account for the total of 731 in the six counties covered by the East of England Ambulance service.

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