Paramedics gathered in Preston to highlight the dangers facing crews on 999 call-outs.
The demonstration came just over two weeks after a trainee suffered a fractured skull when he was alledgedly attacked with a baseball bat answering an emergency in Leyland. More than a dozen off-duty ambulance staff held a vigil outside the city’s Crown Court complex.
Mick Doolan, operations manager for South Lancashire, said: “Attacks on paramedics are nothing new, but they are definitely on the increase. There were a couple of crews assaulted on the Fylde Coast only this weekend and another in Salford. We are here to show the public what a problem it is. It can happen on an almost daily basis, yet it attracts very little publicity.”
Daniel Doherty, stationed in Preston, added: “What happened in Leyland the other weekend was extreme, but it wasn’t a one-off. Attacks on our staff are getting more common.
“This isn’t a protest, just something to show our support for crews who risk injury, or even worse, just going out to try and help people.
“We have always suffered abuse. It’s hard to comprehend why it happens, but it does and it is something we want the public to be aware of. We have come to expect abuse in the course of our work because, sadly, it has become part and parcel of our job.”
The trainee paramedic attacked in Leyland is reported to be on the mend and has been able to visit his colleagues at work to chat about his ordeal. His partner on the night, who rushed him from the scene and off to hospital, has already returned to her duties.
Derek Cartwright, the North West Ambulance Service director of emergency service, said: “It’s a sad fact that we are becoming almost used to hearing of our staff being either verbally or physically assaulted.”
l Lewis David Westwood, 19, of Hillbrook Road, Leyland appeared in Preston Crown Court by videolink from prison yesterday on a charge of causing grievous bodily harm in Leyland on October 13. His trial has been set for March 31.