Figures released by the NHS Protect show that in 2012/13, 83 cases were reported and that EMAS followed-up by taking sanctions against 75 assailants giving the service a success rate of nearly 91%.
Nick Arnold heads up EMAS’ Local Security Management Team which investigates incidents and work with the Crown Prosecution Service and the Police to bring offenders to book. He said: “It’s a sad reflection on society that some people who we are trying to help or even bystanders at incidents think it’s alright to physically assault our staff. My team’s job is to make sure we track them down and take legal proceedings so they get the message loud and clear – it isn’t.”
The type of sanctions imposed on assailants can vary from anti-social behaviour orders, banning orders, tagging or, in the most extreme cases, imprisonment. To help staff report incidents as quickly as possible, a 24/7 telephone service has been introduced. Also, staff are reminded of the importance of letting the team know each time they either feel threatened or are subjected to violence and to not treat this as part of the job. They also report all incidents where medical equipment or the vehicle they are travelling in is purposely damaged. Nick added:
We’ve been promoting our zero tolerance approach for several years now but unfortunately, some people don’t learn. Alcohol or substance abuse is often put forward as an excuse for appalling behaviour but I’m afraid that doesn’t wash with us or the legal system. We have a duty to protect staff and we’re doing just that. This includes having CCTV cameras installed on vehicles so we have evidence to prove exactly what happened.
I’d like to thank all EMAS staff for their willingness to help my team and the Police in the investigation process. Also, a big well done to my team for their hard work. They have reason to be proud because not only have we topped the ambulance service league table but our sanctions rate is one of the best in the whole of the NHS.”
Figures released by NHS Protect can be found by visiting http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/fraud