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NHS bid to stamp out abuse on staff

PUBLISHED: 15:12 03 April 2008 | UPDATED: 09:38 23 August 2010

ILL TREATED: Paramedics Sheena Middleton and Lynn Collins have been abused while working.

ILL TREATED: Paramedics Sheena Middleton and Lynn Collins have been abused while working.

A PARAMEDIC who was kicked and urinated on by a drunk is one of 2,000 NHS workers attacked in Kent in the last three years. Sheena Middleton, 46, who is based at Northfleet Ambulance station, is now helping to lead a campaign to highlight their plight.

A PARAMEDIC who was kicked and urinated on by a drunk is one of 2,000 NHS workers attacked in Kent in the last three years.

Sheena Middleton, 46, who is based at Northfleet Ambulance station, is now helping to lead a campaign to highlight their plight.

Statistics show that there were 55,709 violent attacks on NHS staff in 2006/07 across the country.

The cases have resulted in the launch of an anti-violence campaign last Thursday, entitled "Your Choice of Treatment" to warn offenders they will be prosecuted.

Ms Middleton said: "It has been a long time coming, but with this campaign we want to create an awareness of what goes on, and to send out the message that if you are abusive or violent towards NHS staff - and that includes anyone from doctors, nurses, cleaners and receptionists - you will not get away with it.

"It makes me feel sick, nobody deserves to get treated like this. We are here to do a job, and that job is becoming more and more difficult to do with the temperament of today's society."

The national campaign will feature on roadside billboards, train platforms and pubs and club toilets.

Ms Middleton was attacked by a man in a working mans club in Dunton Green, near Sevenoaks, in October last year.

She added: "When we arrived, we suffered a torrent of abuse, and we found the man lying on the floor, twitching. The next thing I knew this man had lashed out at me, and kicked me on the leg very hard."

Ms Middleton and her partner Lynn Collins then put the man in the back of the ambulance, where he then started urinating.

Ms Collins, 55, said: "On the way to the hospital he constantly exposed himself and was urinating everywhere, he carried on being abusive.

"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."

The scheme is backed by all NHS Trusts, Kent County Council, Kent Police, and MPs.

Richard Hampton, director of the NHS security management service, which is running the campaign, said: "Anecdotally, we know those who assault our staff are often drunk or under the influence of drugs. There is no defence. The choice is yours - whether you are frustrated drunk or on drugs, you will be held accountable for your actions.

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