The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) has relaunched its Don’t Choose to Abuse campaign, highlighting the abuse ambulance staff receive – and the consequences for perpetrators.
During 2017-18 there were more than 1,000 incidents reported by ambulance staff, including 252 incidents of physical abuse and intimidation and eight incidents where weapons were used.
Assaulting ambulance crew members can result in a prison sentence of up to 12 months.
Dorothy Hosein, Chief Executive of EEAST said: “No-one should have to face abuse as part of their job, but when ambulance crews and call-handlers, who are there to help, are abused it’s totally unacceptable.
“Some members of our staff have reported they receive some form of abuse almost daily. This can have a cumulative effect on people’s wellbeing, and part of our campaign is telling staff that if they receive abuse from members of the public, they will be supported.
“We welcome the strengthening of the law, and will support our staff in reporting abuse and pressing for the strongest penalties.
“So, while we appreciate that we often deal with people under difficult circumstances, we would like to remind everyone they have a choice.
“Don’t choose to abuse – the consequences can be serious.”