Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Three ambulance staff attacked or verbally abused every week
Three ambulance workers a week are attacked or verbally abused and threatened while trying to do their job.
Figures obtained by The Argus reveal scores of paramedics have been left with cuts, bruises and strains after being assaulted by patients, friends, relatives or other members of the public.
One worker needed hospital treatment when they were attacked.
Others have been left with psychological and emotional problems as a result of being caught up in incidents.
Unions say the number of cases is higher than figures show because not every case is reported.
Several incidents have involved people who are drunk or on drugs and who become aggressive, while others are linked to people suffering mental health problems.
A Freedom of Information request to South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) reveals ambulance workers reported 51 physical assaults in Sussex between April 2012 and the end of March.
Accounts of verbal abuse and threats were higher at 109.
Sixty of the incidents were reported to police and five cases led to a successful prosecution.
An ambulance spokesman said: “Our trust views assaults against its staff very seriously.
“Our local security management specialists actively promote awareness of our zero-tolerance stance with regard to assaults on staff and encourage them to report incidents.
“The trust also ensures our operational staff are provided with conflict resolution training to minimise the risk of assaults.”
Ambulance control room staff are able to ask for support from Sussex Police if they believe crews are going to enter a volatile situation.
Gary Palmer, GMB organiser for the ambulance service, said: “GMB has more than 1,500 members working within the trust and sadly, we regularly see cases where they have been injured while attending call outs.
“This is particularly the case when attending situations relating to violence, alcohol or drugs, but incidents can also occur at other times.
“This situation is made worse by the fact that staff members can be placed in situations where they are working alone, which can make it difficult to obtain help and can leave them in a position where they are also vulnerable to allegations being made against them.
“Secamb must take immediate action before there is a fatal incident and I can confirm that GMB are ready and prepared to meet with them to put forward staff proposals to improve the situation.”
A spokesman for Unison also called for more civil prosecutions if attempts to follow criminal prosecutions were unsuccessful.
Secamb said it had helped with successful civil cases in the past and would be willing to work with unions.
It said there were also procedures in place to support staff working alone.
Comments are closed on this article.