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Zero tolerance needed for ambulance staff assaults

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Zero tolerance is needed to crack down on people who assault ambulance staff, according to a leading union.

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Blasting the “shocking” figures, the union said workers deserved more protection from their employers to lower the risk of being hurt simply for doing their job.

The claim comes as the GMB revealed that every day, three ambulance staff are the victims of attacks.

Blasting the “shocking” figures, the union said workers deserved more protection from their employers to lower the risk of being hurt simply for doing their job.

There were 2,705 assaults on ambulance staff in the two years to April 2009 in the 11 NHS Ambulance trusts in England, 117 physical assaults in Scotland last year and 192 in Wales, according to the GMB’s report.

This did not take into account the verbal assaults that staff are often subjected to.

GMB national officer Justin Bowden said: “Every single day at least three ambulance workers are assaulted whilst doing their jobs. That is as shocking as it is unacceptable.

“Being attacked at work is not an occupational hazard for ambulance workers and the only way to confront this issue is with zero tolerance.

“Ambulance workers deserve full protection from their employers and the law.”

The GMB added that in some areas, fewer than half of attacks led to prosecutions. It also claimed that some employers were planning to remove stab-proof vests from ambulance workers.

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