Violence against Welsh ambulance staff "will not be tolerated"
THE Welsh Ambulance Service has renewed its pledge to protect staff against violence and aggression from patients.
In the last 12 months there were more than 260 such incidents recorded against ambulance staff — and bosses are warning they have a “zero tolerance” approach to offenders, and will pursue prosecutions in the courts.
The ambulance service has teamed up with local health boards, the four Welsh police forces and the Crown Prosecution Service to launch the fresh crackdown on people who abuse emergency staff.
Judith Hardisty, director of workforce and organisational development in the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “Our staff should be able to work without fear of violence, abuse or harassment from any member of the public.
“They are there to help the community’s emergency medical needs, and do not need to be obstructed in their duty by unwarranted attacks.
“Violence not only puts our crews and call takers at risk, but prevents them from doing their job — caring for others.
“We condemn acts of violence and aggression against our staff and other NHS employees while they are on duty.”
She added: “We welcome the new agreement between the police and the NHS in Wales to prosecute perpetrators of violent acts against NHS staff.”
The ambulance service and its partners have now signed an agreement — known as a memorandum of understanding — outlining and improving the way incidents are reported to the police, evidence and statements are gathered, and victims are supported during court cases.
Endorsing the agreement Minister for Health and Social Services, Mark Drakeford, said violence against health care workers would not be tolerated.
He said: “Not only does this memorandum of understanding provide a clear understanding of the respective roles, responsibilities and processes involved, but it will also help NHS staff themselves better understand the criminal justice system and have confidence that it can deliver the right results.
“The challenge now is to implement this memorandum, with its clear statement on prosecution policy, to reinforce the message that neither violence nor aggression against NHS staff will be tolerated.”
The launch of the agreement comes on National Personal Safety Day, an annual event organised by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust which is aimed at teaching the public how avoid violence and aggression.