Attacks on Hertfordshire 999 crews worst in region

ASSAULTS on ambulance staff in Hertfordshire are the joint highest in the region.

Figures published by the NHS Security Management Service reveal there were 24 attacks on staff in the county in the past year, the same number as in Essex.

This was nearly three times as many compared to neighbouring Bedfordshire, which was the least affected county in the eastern region with nine incidents.

In total, there were 95 assaults on East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) staff – an increase of 11 on last year’s figures.

Neil Storey, interim associate director of A&E services for EEAS, said: “The ability of our staff to work safely and unhindered is paramount and we consider any violence against them to be completely unacceptable.”

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He said staff were encouraged to report every incident of aggression so action could be taken, as well as undertaking risk assessments of every situation they attend.

EEAS also works with the NHS Counter Fraud Security Management Service to monitor violence and try to prevent similar incidents in the future.

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Mr Storey said: “It is disappointing the number of assaults on our staff in 2008-09 has increased from the previous year, but this may reflect better awareness among staff of the importance of reporting incidents.

“We sincerely hope the numbers of assaults will drop in the future.

“The vast majority of people are supportive of the ambulance service, but unfortunately there are still those few people who obstruct our staff as they try to go about their work helping people around the region.”

He added: “We would ask those individuals to think through the potentially tragic consequences of their actions before they assault an ambulance crew.”

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