Rise in attacks on ambulance staff ‘unacceptable’

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Politicians in Fife have condemned attacks on ambulance staff, after it was revealed that the number of assaults on personnel had increased over the last five years.

The number of attacks in some areas of the Kingdom has risen, with one incident in Kirkcaldy even seeing an ambulance staff member’s life threatened with a weapon.

While Kirkcaldy only had a single incident of verbal abuse in 2012, this year so far, there have been five attacks – two of which were physical assaults.

Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance, told the Press: “The rise in the number of cases is worrying.

“I’m appalled that this happens in modern society.

“We’ve got people who are specially trained, coming to aid of people in need, and they’re coming under attack.

“This is simply not acceptable.

“In many cases they’re trying to save lives and they’re being verbally and physically abused. No one should have to suffer that in the workplace.”

Lesley Laird, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, said: “Quite frankly, I am utterly appalled that ambulance staff are subject to this abuse when they are providing a vital, and often life-saving, service to the public.

“There can be no situation where this is tolerated and criminal proceedings should be pursued on every occasion.

“It is shameful that the number of incidents is rising with this year looking more serious than previous years already.”

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman said: “The safety of our staff is paramount, which is why the service takes appropriate measures to protect them.

“They should not have to fear for their own safety when treating patients.

“If any crews feel that their safety may be compromised, they are instructed to wait nearby the scene and await support from the police, or additional ambulance crews.

“Every year, ambulance crews report incidents of physical assault, ranging from pushing and punching to spitting and attack with a variety of weapons.

“They deserve more respect for their dedication to patient care, often provided in the most challenging of situations.

“In most of these incidents alcohol is a key factor.”