Page last updated at 13:07 GMT, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

West Midlands paramedic attack figures revealed

West Midlands Ambulance Service ambulance
Ambulance chiefs said they took a "zero tolerance" approach to attacks

There were more than 230 reports of verbal or physical assaults on West Midlands ambulance staff over six months, NHS chiefs have said.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said the figures were recorded between 1 April and 30 September 2009.

However, it said the number of both physical and verbal attacks had fallen compared to the same period in 2008.

The results were taken as part of a national survey for the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service.

A spokesman for the ambulance service said there had been 80 physical assaults on its staff during the six months until end of September, compared to 94 over the same period the previous year.

'Absolutely abhorrent'

They said the number of verbal attacks fell from 172 to 151.

Ambulance service chief executive Anthony Marsh said the figures were still "shameful".

He said: "It is absolutely abhorrent that ambulance staff, who are responding to help people who have serious medical conditions or injuries, should have to face this level of violence and verbal abuse.

"I find it sickening."

He added that the ambulance trust had a "zero tolerance policy" to attackers and would ensure it would do anything it could to prosecute the offenders.

Mr Marsh added that all staff would be receiving conflict resolution training over the next year.

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