Shocking new figures by the North West service, show that 756 addresses were red-flagged as the country’s worst area for assaults.
Every day, some eight paramedics are subjected to a serious attack when trying to do their work. In just five years, assaults on ambulance crew members have skyrocketed by 36 percent according to figures seen by the Sunday People.
In London, ambulance workers were asphyxiated, suffered spinal cord damage, burns, dislocations, fractures and concussion.
Some 69 ambulance workers were sexually assaulted in 2017 in Yorkshire while another 47 were kicked, 24 slapped, 17 bitten and 36 spat upon. The alarming numbers cover ten of the 11 ambulance trusts in England.
South East Coast Ambulance saw a rise in assault almost double in five years from 113 in 2013-14 to 220 in 2017-18.
The national secretary of the ambulance GMB worker’s union said: “These terrifying figures underline that ambulance workers, along with all those who work in the emergency services, are forced to work under an increased threat of violence.”
In April this year, the GMB union, which represents about 15 000 members, obtained the relevant data on violence against their staff under freedom of information legislation.
“The fact that this is happening to our ambulance workers as they try to save lives is particularly sickening,” the national secretary added.
Ambulance staff have described how patients sexually harass or assault them, leaving them traumatised and fearful.
“I was the victim of a sustained incident which began with verbal and sexual abuse and harassment,” said one ambulance crew member. “My assailant indecently exposed himself, made lewd and derogatory sexual remarks and gestures, grabbed hold of me and twisted my arm, and also kicked out at me and again tried to grab hold of me.”
Another member told The Guardian: “I have been sexually assaulted twice and been punched in the side of my face.” A third said they had been “sexually assaulted, verbally threatened with assault [and] fallen on by an aggressive patient whilst in the ambulance.”
Especially female paramedics are reluctant to respond to a call about a male patient if they are working alone.
Paramedics were told at the beginning of the year that a new law would bring in tougher sentences for those who attack emergency workers when they are on duty.
It was hoped that the law would act as a deterrent because offenders currently escape meaningful justice. But harshing sentencing powers has had no impact on the front line.