By Nick Spoors
AN ambulance crew member was attacked by a patient in Northampton town centre, in the latest of string of attacks on emergency workers. The unnamed Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) was called out to an emergency near the Acorn House night shelter in Oak Street on Tuesday night. She helped transfer the 33-year-old man to the ambulance but, on the way to Northampton General Hospital, he allegedly stood up and forcefully pushed her against a hospital trolley.
She pressed a panic button and the ambulance stopped to wait for police to arrive.
Although the man apologised to the EMT, officers arrested him and, instead of being transported to hospital, he was taken to Campbell Square police station.
East Midlands Ambulance Service said the alleged attack caused injuries to the EMT’s back and shoulders and a dislocated knee. Richard Clayton, operational support manager at East Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “When he realised the police had been called, the man was very profuse in his apologies.
“However, we operate on a policy of zero tolerance on attacks on our crews and he was arrested. In these sorts of incidents we always prosecute the attacker.”
The alleged attack is the latest in a series of assaults on emergency services workers in Northamptonshire.
Latest figures show firefighters in the county have recorded 11 violent assaults since April last year ranging from stone throwing to a crew being set upon by a gang with iron bars, broken bottles and blades. Seven of these happened in Northampton. Assaults on ambulance crews including EMTs – a less-highly trained type of paramedic – are more common with the former Two Shires Ambulance NHS Trust recording 112 physical attacks on staff and a further 502 verbal attacks between 1999 and 2005.
County councillor Liz Tavener (Cons, New Duston), cabinet member for public protection, condemned all attacks on emergency workers. She said: “Any attack on any frontline service worker who is trying to help the public is terrible.
“It is a sad reflection on society these days but I suppose you cannot legislate for idiots.”
It is believed the man was arrested for causing actual bodily harm rather than under The Emergency Workers (Obstruction) Act 2006, which came into force last month. He has been released on police bail.