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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 November 2007, 08:26 GMT
Attacks against paramedics rise
Ambulance helmet
A woman who assaulted a paramedic was taken to court
The number of ambulance staff being assaulted while working in Kent, Sussex, and Surrey has gone up.

According to figures from the South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust, 81 staff were assaulted during 2006/07, compared to 67 the year before.

In July, the trust appointed a security manager to make crews feel safer.

"We need to send out a message to staff that we do not accept that this behaviour is part of the job," said Bill Chilcott.

"Therefore we are actively encouraging staff to come forward with such cases so that we can ensure proper measures are taken to not only reduce the risk but also bring the people who act anti-socially to justice."

Ambulance clinicians are there to help patients and they should be able to do that without the fear of being attacked
Bill Chilcott, security manager

As part of its get-tough approach, and in conjunction with NHS Security Management Services, the trust successfully took out its first private prosecution against a Strood woman after she assaulted a technician earlier this year.

The woman was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay 200 compensation and 60 costs when she appeared before Medway magistrates on 15 October.

Mr Chilcott said the experience had been "very distressing for the member of staff, not only physically but mentally as well".

"Ambulance clinicians are there to help patients and they should be able to do that without the fear of being attacked."

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
There has been an increase in attacks on ambulance staff



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