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Lifesaving ambulance crews coming under ‘utterly inexcusable’ attack

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Hundreds of attacks on ambulance service staff in Tayside and Fife have been branded “utterly inexcusable”.

Blue light personnel are being targeted on an almost weekly basis while responding to callouts.

More than 260 assaults were committed against East Central region Scottish Ambulance Service staff at work over the past six years, covering emergencies across almost 5,000 square miles of Tayside, Fife and Forth Valley.

A total of 1,889 assaults were recorded across Scotland in the same period – almost one a day.

A number of other attacks were committed against people working for national resources. The Scotstar neonatal retrieval ambulance and helicopter, used for high-risk baby transfers, has been attacked three times since 2013.

The three ambulance control centres in Inverness, Cardonald and South Queensferry have been the scene of 22 assaults since 2013.

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Our staff should not have to fear for their safety when treating patients and keeping them safe is of paramount importance to us.

“We have a range of measures in place to help protect staff, known or reported areas where staff have previously faced violence or threatening behaviour are automatically flagged to our crews, who can then request additional support, if required.

“Staff are trained in managing aggression and assessing risk, enabling them to better judge when they need to wait for support from the Police, or additional ambulance crews.”

The figures were obtained by the Scottish Conservatives through a freedom of information request.

Angus Conservative MP Kirstene Hair said: “It is utterly inexcusable to attack any member of our emergency services.

“Ambulance workers are engaged in saving lives and any attack on them is an attack on society.

“In places like Angus, with a large rural population, every second counts during an emergency response.”

The daily risk faced by ambulance crews was highlighted by a Tayside sheriff only last month after a teenager appeared in court for kicking, punching and spitting at a paramedic.

The trainee paramedic had tried to prevent the Perth 19-year-old from falling down a flight of stairs after drinking himself into a stupor.

The offender was placed on a curfew and ordered to carry out unpaid work for what the sheriff branded a “horrible” offence.

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