Norfolk

East of England Ambulance Service staff call for worker's death to be last

Luke Wright Image copyright Luke Wright''s family
Image caption Luke Wright, 24, worked for the East of England Ambulance Service

Friends of an ambulance worker who took his own life have called on colleagues to speak up and make his death the last.

Luke Wright was one of three members of the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) to die in 11 days last month.

More than 150 people paid their respects at the 24-year-old father's funeral near Watton in Norfolk.

The Ambulance Staff Charity (ASC) has taken 35 calls from EEAS workers seeking support, since May.

Image caption Ambulance staff lined up to pay their respects as Mr Wright's coffin arrived

Friend Matthew Wilson said Mr Wright, a call handler who also volunteered as a community first responder, had "saved people's lives".

"He brought people back from the dead," he said. "He wanted to be a paramedic, and he loved the ambulance service - he loved helping people."

Suicide awareness ribbons were handed out at the service, and Mr Wilson called for others in need to speak up.

Image caption Matthew Wilson urged others struggling to speak up and seek help

"Everyone needs to talk to get mental health out there, and talk about any issues that they have," he said.

"We want to make sure Luke's death is the final one that we have to suffer."

Following Mr Wright's death, and those of paramedics in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, EEAS said it would "always offer support" to staff in need.

Image copyright Mr Wright's family
Image caption Luke Wright's brother said he "constantly had a smile on his face"

The ACS was set up in 2015 to support paramedics, technicians and back-room staff.

Chief operating officer Karl Demian, said it had supported 1,000 people in the three years to October 2018 and 1,200 in the following 12 months.

He said the increase could be because of greater awareness but acknowledged paramedics' jobs, while always "fraught", were becoming "more complex".

"The nature of the incidents that they have to deal with has changed, but I think it's fair to say that the pressures on them are much greater than they were," he said.

Emergency calls in Norfolk were answered by colleagues in Essex and Bedfordshire as Norwich staff paid their respects.

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