London

London Ambulance Service: More than one attack per day

An ambulance responding to an emergency
Image caption Attacks on ambulance staff have gone up by 36%

More than one attack a day on ambulance workers is being reported in London.

A total of 470 assaults was recorded by London Ambulance Service last year. This compares with 346 the year before, an increase of 36%.

In one case a student paramedic had her finger bitten and needed surgery.

The increase may partly be due to staff members being encouraged to report violence, but there are also a growing number of emergencies, the ambulance service said.

Bitten tendon

Student paramedic Helen Parsons was treating a drunk patient when he attacked her, damaging a tendon.

She said: "He kept his teeth clamped on my finger while I tried to get him to let go and call for help from my crew mate.

"I managed to get the side door of the ambulance open and jumped out, dragging him with me. When he fell out of the ambulance my crew mate was able to prise his mouth open and free my finger."

The man was given a 36-week suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £7,500 compensation. Action was taken against 93 offenders following assaults last year.

Deputy director of operations Jason Killens said: "It's absolutely unacceptable that our staff are being attacked while trying to do their job and care for patients.

"We will do everything in our power to encourage staff to report these incidents and work with the police and prosecuting authorities to make sure those responsible are dealt with through the courts."

He added: "The vast majority of our patients are very appreciative of the work we do, however, it is a small minority who turn to violence."

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