Don’t Choose To Abuse! – The new campaign of EEAST to sensibilize on consequences for perpetrators

Paramedic safety is mandatory. But there are many situations where aggressions are challenging to prevent. The #AMBULANCE! community started in 2016 to analyse different situations. The primary goal is to make safer EMT and Paramedic shift, thanks to better knowledge. Start reading, this is a #Crimefriday story to learn better how to save your body, your team and your ambulance from a "bad day in the office"!

During a dispatch, ambulance crews may face difficulties with the public around the patient. Many times we already faced the topic of violence on paramedics, but this time also the EEAST launched its appeal to this issue.

At the beginning of 2019, the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) decided to launch the Don’t Choose to Abuse campaign, in order to highlight the consequences of ambulance staff abuse and what perpetrators will face. According to NHS, during 2017-18 there were more than 1,000 incidents reported by ambulance staff, including 252 incidents of physical abuse and intimidation and eight incidents where weapons were used.

The campaign has been re-launched across the region (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk) with a poster campaign going out in the new year to pubs, licensed premises and other public places, reminding people that assaulting ambulance crew members can result in a prison sentence of up to 12 months.

As for the consequences to perpetrators, they will, of course, undergo a process and the surely be condemned for having impeded the correct activity of the authorities and medical staff on service. As for the kind of violence ambulance crews are generally subjected to, like punches, intimidations, the launch of objects and so on.

Dorothy Hosein, Chief Executive of EEAST said:

“No-one should have to face abuse as part of their job, but when ambulance crews and call-handlers, who are there to help, are abused it’s totally unacceptable. Some members of our staff have reported they receive some form of abuse almost daily. This can have a cumulative effect on people’s wellbeing, and part of our campaign is telling staff that if they receive abuse from members of the public, they will be supported. We welcome the strengthening of the law, and will support our staff in reporting abuse and pressing for the strongest penalties. So, while we appreciate that we often deal with people under difficult circumstances, we would like to remind everyone they have a choice. Don’t choose to abuse – the consequences can be serious.”