FOLLOWING calls by West Midlands ambulance service for tougher penalties to be imposed on those who assault their staff, a UK-wide ambulance charity is voicing their support.
TASC, The Ambulance Services Charity, which has its headquarters in Coventry, is currently delivering a pilot scheme enabling serving members of the UK ambulance service, including those who have been affected by physical assaults, to access rehabilitation at designated treatment centres across the UK.
Lorna Birse-Stewart, chief executive of TASC, said: “It is completely unacceptable that ambulance staff should have to face physical or verbal abuse while responding to help people who are in desperate need.”
Lorna added that the figures released by West Midlands Ambulance Service – that for the first six months of 2015 (April to September), the number of physical assaults on staff rose by almost 30 per cent to a 139 incidents – are a significant concern.
During the Trust’s board meeting, it was revealed that the number of verbal assaults rose by 13 per cent to 246 incidents and more than 600 West Midland Ambulance staff had been attacked on the job in the last three years.
“TASC is supporting calls for a zero tolerance policy on incidents such as this and for the toughest possible action to be taken against those who assault staff,” Lorna added.
“Ambulance service staff are extremely dedicated and committed to their job and incidents such as this can be really upsetting for all concerned and can result in serious injuries in addition to tying up vital emergency resources.”
TASC is committed to supporting members of the ambulance services community and is currently accepting applications for its new pilot programme which will enable frontline ambulance staff across the UK to access rehabilitation.
A range of support will be available as part of the scheme including physical rehabilitation, physiotherapy and exercise programmes as well as counselling support and health and well-being services.
Lorna encourages all ambulance staff in need of rehabilitation support to get in touch via the TASC ‘Here to Help’ Freephone support line on 0800 1032 999 or by contacting 02477 987922 for more information on the charity.