Rise in sexual assaults on ambulance staff

Analysis of NHS figures has revealed that the number of frontline ambulance staff being sexually assaulted at work has almost trebled in the last five years.

The GMB union obtained the data under freedom of information legislation and found that the number of such incidents, both physical and verbal, involving ambulance workers in England has risen from 52 in 2012-13 to 145 in 2017-18.

The union shared how paramedics and other ambulance crew are subject to ‘verbal and sexual abuse and harassment’, including indecent exposure, derogatory sexual remarks and physical assault. Alcohol was involved in some of the incidents.

The data follows recent news by Unison that physical assaults on NHS staff rose by nearly 10 per cent last year in England.

Rehana Azam, national secretary for the GMB union, said: “The fact that this is happening to our ambulance workers as they try to save lives is particularly sickening. These figures show there is a national problem with disgusting attacks on emergency workers and it’s getting worse. These are the most horrific and harrowing cases emergency workers can and do face in the line of duty.”

Parliament is preparing to debate harsher sentences for people who abuse or attack members of the emergency services in the course of their work. The assaults on emergency workers (offences) bill will be heard again in the House of Commons on 27 April.

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