Life-savers urged to report attacks

AMBULANCE crews serving from Nailsea came under attack twice in a year while attending emergencies - but there are fears there were many more incidents which went unreported.

Following a Freedom of Information Request sent to Great Western Ambulance Service (GWAS), the Times can reveal that staff reported a total of 60 assaults during the financial year 2010/11.

Out of those, two were reported from the 40 workers based at Nailsea Ambulance Station in Clevedon Road.

But the statistics, a union representative claims, do not paint the true picture of work on the frontline for ambulance crews.

UNISON steward Chris Hewett said many members of staff saw the assaults as ‘part of the job’ and did not report incidents.

He said: “I don’t believe this figure is right because many incidents go unreported. I think there were many more, maybe even double.

“Many workers are old-fashioned in that they think assaults are part of the frontline work.

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“But this should not be the case and I’d urge people to report incidents so the service can ensure that staff have adequate training.”

Mr Hewett, who says he has been the victim of ‘several’ assaults, said the union was in discussion with the service about conflict resolution training.

A GWAS spokesman said: “While the number of assaults is comparatively small, it is totally unacceptable for any member of our staff to be attacked while carrying out their life-saving work.

“As a trust, we strongly urge staff to report incidents where they are subject to physical or verbal attack and we continue to ensure this process is as smooth and straightforward as possible.”

He said staff undergo training to prepare them for situations when they could come under attack.

The service, which covers Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, attended more than 300,000 incidents during the 2010/11 period.