Figures reveal 479 assaults reported on EMAS staff in eight months

EMAS is urging people to think carefully about their alcohol consumption over the festive period and over New Year.
EMAS is urging people to think carefully about their alcohol consumption over the festive period and over New Year.
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Nearly 500 assaults on East Midlands Ambulance Service staff have been recorded over an eight-month period, shock figures reveal.

EMAS said the total number of incidents reported, 479, included sexual assaults, verbal abuse and physical violence between April and November this year.

Of those, 185 of the perpetrators were found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The figures were revealed amid a warning urging people to think carefully about their alcohol consumption over the busy New Year period.

The traditional party night puts more demand on 999 call takers, ambulance dispatchers, clinicians in the control centre and ambulance crews than any other time of the year.

Ben Holdaway, East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) Deputy Director of Operations, said: “Every New Year’s Eve and Day we see a huge increase in 999 calls.

“In the first six hours of 2017 we received 1,150 emergency and urgent calls. That’s a call every 18 seconds and twice as many as on an average night.

“Despite the big increase in calls, only 30 per cent of patients required further treatment in hospital, demonstrating that not all requests for help related to emergency or serious incidents.

EMAS said it often saw an increase in violent and aggressive behaviour towards its staff during this time of year.

“Please be mindful of your actions” Ben warned. “Alcohol or substance abuse is not an excuse and doesn’t wash with us or the legal system.

"We want you to have fun but please take care and look out for your friends to make sure everyone gets home safely.”

He added: “Many New Year’s Eve and Day calls could have been avoided if people had drunk alcohol in moderation and taken care.

“We don’t have an endless supply of ambulances and our message is clear: we need you to help us to get to those in your community that really need an emergency response this New Year.

“Our frontline and control room colleagues and volunteers will be working incredibly hard, sometimes in hostile and challenging environments, to get to people in need. I thank them all for their commitment to provide quality care for the people of the East Midlands."