Figures under Freedom of Information legislation uncovered almost 7,500 addresses where ambulance staff required a police escort or are advised to exercise caution because of the potential of violence.Now, I’m not in favour of anyone being allowed to attack ambulance staff with impunity (or police, or firemen, or gas meter readers…), but what risk do households like this pose to the rest of us?
Risks include people with a history of violence and aggression towards ambulance staff, addresses with dangerous animals or weapons and patients with psychiatric or alcohol-related conditions and mental health disorders.Who ‘red flags’ them for the unsuspecting public, or their neighbours?
Not to mention unsuspecting delivery men, window cleaners, milkmen, etc…
The Liberal Democrats say some parts of the country have hundreds of addresses that have been flagged - in the North West alone, more than 3,000 addresses are seen as at risk.No, not ‘at risk’. They are the risk – to others.
Health spokesman Norman Lamb said: "It is unacceptable that such a large number of people are posing a threat to the safety of ambulance crews.Here’s a thought, Norman, and perhaps it might help more than just calling for body armour for some of the public sector workers who have to deal with these people – don’t leave them free to pose a danger to anyone!
"NHS staff responding to emergencies and trying to save people's lives should be allowed to do their jobs without fear of violence or abuse. Tough action must taken when their safety is threatened.
"Protective body armour should be made available to all frontline ambulance staff, just as it is to the police."
Dangerous dogs and weapons? Remove/destroy them.
Psychiatric conditions? Secure mental treatment facilities.
A history of violence and aggression? Ensure they are jailed or sectioned until they are no longer a threat.
That way, we’ll all be safe.
And if I was a paramedic, I think I’d think twice about paying my union dues to Unison, if this is the best they can come up with:
Ambulance workers union, Unison, says the problem is creating moral dilemmas where staff consider their own safety against the wellbeing of a patient.Well, fancy..! How terribly unsympathetic of them…!
What exactly do you want them to do – charge in to Stabby McStabberson’s domicile regardless, just to ensure that the ambulance service is considered ‘morally sound’?
Karen Jennings, Unison's head of health, said: "I think there are serious questions to ask about whether ambulance crews should sit outside if somebody inside is having a heart attack."Why? We are constantly told, by the H&S mavens, that we shouldn’t put ourselves at risk at work – why is this any different for ambulance staff? They aren’t, after all, paid for a dangerous role the way the police and fire crews are.
And they already put up with a hell of a lot of abuse from the mad, the thoughtless and the criminal element of the public, as any glance at their blogs will tell you.
"Having said that, if that household has a history of attacking people when they go in, then it doesn't do anybody any good if they were just to rush in and put themselves at risk."Quite.
But we might well ask, why is it not considered better to remove the causes of the problem, rather than try to find new ways to work around it?