Ambulance staff attacked each month


At least one ambulance staff member is assaulted every month at Craigavon, according to the latest statistics.

The figures released in the NI Assembly revealed that Craigavon was one of four hospitals in Northern Ireland where at least one assault on ambulance staff took place each month.

There are at least three physical assaults on ambulance staff every week, with attacks almost doubling in the last five years. An average of two attacks occur every week on staff in hospital accident and emergency departments.

Meanwhile Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson described as ‘deeply concerning’ figures which show one in eight paramedics were on isck leave over a two month period.

Figures show that from St Patrick’s Day to the end of May an average of 50 staff across the north were unavailable. This led to private contractors and voluntary crews being forced to cover shifts.

“While there are many different reasons behind why individuals are on sick leave, what is abundantly clear is that the health service is being pushed to breaking point which is clearly affecting the health and morale of the dedicated and highly professional staff,” she said.

An Ambulance Service spokesperson said measures were in place for staff, including a health and well being strategic group, counselling services and a pilot mental health scheme.

“NIAS takes seriously its responsibilities in relation to the health and well being of staff, particularly as we are aware of the stressful environments in which our frontline and support staff operate.”