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Big rise in attacks on West Midlands ambulance workers

By Mark Andrews | Crime | Published: | Last Updated:

The number of physical attacks on West Midlands ambulance staff has risen by nearly a quarter over the past year, new figures show.

The figures, which will be presented to the ambulance board on Wednesday, show that paramedics were assaulted 80 times in just two months – up from 65 for the same period last year.

Verbal assaults, which include threats and intimidation, saw an even bigger rise, rocketing by 60 per cent, said a report by Anthony Marsh, chief executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service.

The figures, which relate to the months of February and March, showed the number of verbal assaults rose from 102 in 2018 to 165 this year.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “To see the numbers of attacks on our staff rising is extremely disappointing.

"It beggars belief that our staff are subjected to physical and verbal abuse when they are trying to help people in their hour of need.

“Whether it is attacks on crews responding to incidents or call centre staff on the end of a phone, it is completely unacceptable."

Handovers

Mr Marsh's report also said that Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital have some of the highest numbers of ambulance-to-hospital handovers lasting an hour or more.

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But Mr Marsh’s report said 'security incidents', which include thefts and criminal damage, were down 21 per cent, from 46 in April and May last year, to 38 this year.

Mr Marsh’s report also compared handover times at 20 hospitals around the West Midlands.

Throughout April and May this year, the Worcestershire Royal Hospital had the worst record, with 526 handovers lasting an hour or more. The Alexandra Hospital, in Redditch, was second with 342, while the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital were third and fourth with 256 and 225 respectively.

Mr Marsh said these delays were not only bad for patients, but also tied up ambulances for long periods.

The directors of the West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust will discuss Mr Marsh’s report when they meet at its Dudley headquarters on Wednesday.

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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