Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The 700 Homes Where It's Just Too Dangerous for Paramedics to Do Their Jobs on Their Own; Attacks Prompt Chiefs to Draw Up Risk List

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The 700 Homes Where It's Just Too Dangerous for Paramedics to Do Their Jobs on Their Own; Attacks Prompt Chiefs to Draw Up Risk List

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Warburton

PARAMEDICS are being warned against visiting hundreds of "red-flagged" danger zones across the North East following attacks on ambulance staff, The Journal can reveal.

A list of nearly 700 "high-risk" addresses across the North East show homes that are categorised as too dangerous for emergency workers to visit without a police escort.

The North East Ambulance Service could not release how many times their staff members had requested police assistance as they tended to a patient over the past 12 months.

But figures reveal the widespread scale of violent attacks on paramedics that have prompted 999 workers to draw up a list of no-go areas.

The ambulance service has listed 526 addresses with a "cautionary" flag where ambulance staff have been targeted with non-physical abuse while tending to victims.

And there are 165 properties across the North East that have been branded with a "violence" flag after paramedics were physically attacked.

Twenty-two addresses in Newcastle have been given "high-risk" status after violent attacks, while Sunderland has 22 addresses and South Shields has 17.

And areas of Northumberland have also been placed on the register with 51 addresses in Ashington recorded as a "caution" address.

Last night Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery said there needed to be a balanced approach to the way high-risk addresses were handled.

He said: "You've got to strike a balance where there is protection for those people who are carrying out a duty to care for patients, while also ensuring that those in need of urgent care are treated adequately. "We have this ludicrous situation - it absolutely beggars belief - that there are people who attack ambulance workers as they try to carry out their jobs.

"There have been occasions where patients have suffered as a result of the policies but there needs to be a common sense approach.

"It's important that the communications and data are accurate and correct."

Figures from 2009 show there were 57 assaults and 121 incidents of verbal abuse against ambulance workers. …

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