Fifteen assaults on ambulance staff in Cambridgeshire reported during 2008-09

FIFTEEN assaults on East of England Ambulance staff took place in Cambridgeshire in 2008-09, according to figures published this week by the NHS Security Management Service. Across the region 95 assaults were reported. There were 24 incidents in both Esse

FIFTEEN assaults on East of England Ambulance staff took place in Cambridgeshire in 2008-09, according to figures published this week by the NHS Security Management Service.

Across the region 95 assaults were reported. There were 24 incidents in both Essex and Hertfordshire, with 13 in both Norfolk and Suffolk and six in Bedfordshire.

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

"We encourage staff to report every instance of aggression they encounter in the line of duty so that appropriate action can be taken against anyone who has attacked them.

"We also train our staff to undertake a risk assessment of every situation they attend."

The ambulance service works with the NHS Counter Fraud Security Management Service to monitor instances of violence and follow them up with a view to preventing similar situations from happening in the future.

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The regional total is an increase on the same period last year, when 84 assaults were reported.

Mr Storey said: "It is disappointing that 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 that 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.

"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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