An ambulance service boss says assaults on staff have forced some paramedics to give up the job.

Brighton operating unit manager Tim Fellows was speaking after drug addict Michael Nichols was ordered to complete rehabilitation for an attack on ambulance staff in April.

The 32-year-old, of no fixed address, tried to attack three paramedics. He grabbed one, a woman, and tried to headbutt her and spat at another.

Mr Fellows said the incident was one of four assaults in four days in the greater Brighton area.

One paramedic was attacked twice.

The Argus:

Picture: Michael Nichols was convicted for attacking paramedics in April.

He said that while the number of calls which end in a paramedic being assaulted is a tiny fraction of one per cent, the incidents themselves can have a big impact on frontline staff.

He said: “Staff were upset, but they are quite stoic as well. Like anybody else, those who have been the victims can be anxious, and in different scenarios in the past it has had such an effect on people that they have given up the job.

“Fundamentally our staff are people that care. They should not be on the receiving end of this sort of nonsense.”

He said that while paramedics deal with tricky patients with mental health issues, there are a growing number of perpetrators attacking them after taking drugs or because they are drunk.

He said being drunk is no excuse for the appalling attacks which are carried out, and said most staff have encountered some level of abuse.

From his own experience, he recalled helping a young man at Brighton Pride who had taken ecstasy and was teetering over a 15ft drop on the seafront.

The Argus: PHOTO BY LIZ FINLAYSON.LF231015B3.Tim Fellows the operational unit manager for Brighton from the South East Coast Ambulance Service.

Paramedics pulled the man back from falling and suffering a serious injury, only for Mr Fellows to be attacked and suffer a broken wrist for his troubles.

But he said that the service enjoys a good working relationship with the police and Crown Prosecution Service, and efforts have been made to encourage paramedics to report every incident.

All modern ambulances have cameras inside and 360 degree cameras on the outside to record any abuse, and more attackers are facing prosecution.

He added: “On the other side, most people are so glad to see us. We get notes of thanks on our vehicles which is incredibly uplifting for our staff.”