Ambulances need police protection

Some addresses have been blacklisted by ambulance crews. Picture: Michael Gillen
Some addresses have been blacklisted by ambulance crews. Picture: Michael Gillen

OUTSIDE of cities Glasgow and Edinburgh, Fife has been ranked as having the most addresses in the country where ambulance crews need to have police protection due to the threat of violent incidents.

The shocking statistics revealed by the Scottish Conservative Party showed Fife had 53 locations which have been “red flagged” by the Scottish Ambulance Service.

This means paramedics and ambulance employees must wait outside for police protection to arrive before going in, even when responding to a 999 call.

These addresses are singled out because of previous negative experiences where emergency service workers have been attacked or threatened.

The exact locations cannot be revealed because of data protection issues, instead they are broken down by health board areas.

Overall Scotland has 437 flagged addresses. Glasgow and Clyde is highest, with 125, followed by the Lothians with 86. Fife is joint third overall alongside Forth Valley.

However, with Glasgow and the Lothians being more highly populated than Fife – they actually only have one flagged address per 10,000 people whereas in the Kingdom the figure is one flag per just under 7000 residents – the Fife figure is significantly higher.

Scottish Conservative justice spokesman David McLetchie said: “It is a disgraceful state of affairs when ambulance workers who dedicate their working lives to helping people cannot enter so many homes for fear of their own safety.

“Every employee has the right to work without fear of attack.

“People who threaten, or worse attack, emergency staff should be dealt with in the severest possible way.

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Every year, ambulance crews report over 200 incidents of physical assault, ranging from pushing and punching to spitting and attack with a variety of weapons. This is totally unacceptable.

“The safety of ambulance staff is paramount and the Service has a number of measures in place to protect staff. All crews are given training in management of aggression and how to undertake a full risk assessment on arrival at scene to establish if there is any potential danger.

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