AMBULANCE staff across the West Midlands are facing the fact they could be attacked every time they go to work.
A shocking new report on the level of abuse suffered by medical staff in the north east of England found paramedics and ambulance workers were having to suffer increasing levels of physical and verbal abuse, and even sexual assaults.
And ambulance chiefs in the West Midlands said their frontline staff were experiencing the same worrying increase in abuse.
Murray MacGregor, Communications Director for West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS), told The Observer: “Our staff come to work knowing that when they’re out on patrol they are more than likely to be attacked or assaulted.
“We actually have to train our staff how to avoid being attacked which no person should ever have to deal with, especially when they are trying to help.
“Sadly, the vast majority of these types of cases are alcohol related.”
Nine out of ten paramedics in the north east felt dealing with booze-related call-outs placed an unnecessary burden on their time and resources.
Many argued they should not even have to deal with the consequences of alcohol misuse.
Mr MacGregor added: “Many of the incidents where our staff have been attacked and even sexually assaulted have come from drunk people on the streets.
“There is no excuse for their appalling behaviour and it’s sad to think that our staff have to deal with these incidents when there may be more important medical emergencies elsewhere.”
Steve Elliker, WMAS’s Regional Head of Security and Safety, said they would not hesitate to see those responsible for the abuse prosecuted.
He added: “It is completely unacceptable that ambulance staff should have to face violence, verbal or sexual abuse.
“Sadly, violence against our staff is something that happens every week. Very often there is a link between alcohol and the attacks.
“We will do everything possible to bring the full weight of the law to bear on anyone who attacks our staff.”