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Emergency crews campaign for zero tolerance’ scheme

PUBLISHED: 11:05 06 November 2008 | UPDATED: 10:14 23 August 2010

Kent crews' campaign to stop violence against their workers

Kent crews' campaign to stop violence against their workers

A PARAMEDIC assaulted by a drunk supports a zero-tolerance approach to violence against the emergency services but said more needs to be done. Staff at the South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust (SECAmb) are set to attend workshops by security spec

A PARAMEDIC assaulted by a drunk supports a zero-tolerance approach to violence against the emergency services but said more needs to be done.

Staff at the South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust (SECAmb) are set to attend workshops by security specialists this month to educate them how to deal with abusive patients.

Statistics show that there were 69 recorded assaults against SECAmb staff between April 2007 and April 2008, including a woman in Brighton who smeared blood on a paramedics face saying he would be infected with Aids and a man who threatened another with an imitation gun.

Sheena Middleton, 46, is a paramedic based at Northfleet Ambulance station, Coldharbour Road, which covers north Kent. In October last year was attacked by a drunk in a working mans club in Dunton Green, near Sevenoaks.

She helped launch an anti-violence campaign in March this year, titled "Your Choice of Treatment" to warn offenders they will be prosecuted.

Ms Middleton said: "I think it is important that they highlight these issues, at the end of the day every paramedic is assaulted at some point.

"Since the launch of the Your Choice of Treatment, not much has changed, the assaults still continue, but I think a difference has been made in the way the assaults are dealt with, we now know who to go to, and who to report it too.

"It has helped raise awareness, but I still think there is a way to go. There should be even more adverts on television, more of a national campaign, asking why would you go out and assault someone that is there to help you?

"People have to know that alcohol is not an excuse, they need to think about what they are doing, we are here to help, not harm you."

The scheme is being held as part of the NHS Security Awareness Month running in November.

SECAmb Local Security Management Specialist David Dixon will be visiting ambulance stations across the south east, including Dartford station tomorrow (7)

Leaflets and posters will also be distributed to encourage staff to report assaults to managers.

Ms Middleton's partner, Lynn Collins, 55, who helped launch the campaign, said: "People just can't believe this sort of thing goes on. It is becoming a regular occurrence now and it is part of the job.

"The problem is getting worse with drink and drugs and Kent is now becoming as bad as London was back in the 90s when I started my career as a paramedic."

ed.riley@archant.co.uk

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