Rise in abuse against ambulance staff

This has been a challenging period for so many individuals but the selfless work of our region’s essential workers has never been more more integral.

Helping those who need it the most – that’s why Emergency Medical Technician, Simon Walton from Appleby joined the ambulance service over six years ago. But with North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) seeing a 36% rise in abuse against staff in Cumbria over the last five years, what Simon didn’t sign up for was to be subject to violence by the very people he was there to help.

He says: “There have been a number of instances over the years where patients have been violent and aggressive towards me and my crew mate. On one occasion a relative of a patient we were treating pulled out a kitchen knife and threatened us with it.

“My crew mate and I were able to calm him down before the police arrived but it was an extremely frightening experience.

“Although the vast majority of the patients treat us with respect and are extremely appreciative of our care it is sadly the case that incidents of violence are becoming a more common occurrence. Thankfully I’ve never been seriously injured and I have had fantastic support from my colleagues and managers but the incidents like this can affect us mentally as well as physically.”

Still passionate about the work he does, Simon is currently training to become a qualified paramedic, due to complete his studies in December.

Operations Manager Nick Griggs added: “The trust has a zero tolerance approach to violence and aggression towards our staff and encourage them to report all instances, no matter how big or small, and wherever possible take action against aggressors.

“We work hard to support staff who have been subject to incidents of abuse but this absolutely should not be happening. We urge members of the public to support us and help end violence towards emergency services staff.”

Have a spooktastic Halloween at home

It’s the time of year for frightening fun and delightful treats but for our emergency services, Halloween is one of the busiest times of the year.

With celebrations set to be quite different this year, North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) is reminding ghoulish fun-seekers to stay safe this Halloween and continue to follow government guidelines around coronavirus.

Sector Manager for Cumbria Rhonda Stanger says: “There are plenty of ways you can enjoy Halloween at home this year whilst avoiding any gruesome injuries! You can get creative with pumpkin carving or bake your own spooky treats, just remember to be careful with sharp objects and supervise young children.

“We are here for you in an emergency but please consider other options for minor injuries and illnesses such as your pharmacist, GP, walk-in centre or if you’re unsure NHS 111.”