Ambulance workers faced more than one thousand incidents of violence and aggression from the public last year alone, the latest data has revealed.

Frontline staff for South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) reported 1,315 cases of abuse from April 2022 to March 2023, including 225 physical assaults.

Separate data from the union GMB revealed that 69 cases of sexual assault were also reported by Secamb ambulance workers over the last five years, with 19 cases in 2022/23 alone.

The ambulance service, which covers Sussex, as well as Kent and Surrey, is extending the availability of body-worn cameras for its frontline crews to more sites across the region to reduce violence and aggression towards its crews.


Secamb security manager Dave Monk said: “My colleagues, both in our control rooms and out on the road, work tirelessly every day to provide compassionate care to our patients.

“We know that the huge majority of people would find the behaviour of people who abuse or are violent towards our staff, abhorrent.

“However, there remains a small minority of people who continue to act in this way.

“Our staff deserve to carry out their roles without the fear of facing abuse or violence. I am pleased that we have been able to extend the use of body-worn cameras so that more staff have the choice to use them while on shift.

“We will continue to do everything we can to support all our staff and ensure that any individual who chooses to act in a violent or aggressive manner is held responsible for their actions.”

Ambulance workers took to the stage at the GMB annual congress in Brighton this week to discuss the attacks they face daily, as well as the national NHS strikes they took part in and much-needed reform to ambulance worker retirement age.

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Rachel Harrison, national secretary of the GMB, said: “Ambulance workers across the South East go to work every day to save lives.

“Despite this, thousands of them are bitten, attacked, spat at and even sexually assaulted.

“No one should have to put up with that, least of all those who are there to protect us.

“GMB members helped change the law but more needs to be done.

“We demand full enforcement of the Protect the Protectors legislation, investment in better systems to flag offenders, and much better support for the victims of violence.”

Body-worn cameras are just one way Secamb is looking to reduce violence and aggression towards its staff.

Other work includes support and advice provided to staff when they are subjected to violence or aggression, review of training provided to and the welfare support that is available staff and regular partnership meetings with police services colleagues.

A national campaign, Work Without Fear, was launched last year with with the aim of tackling violence and aggression towards ambulance staff.