Over the weekend, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service crews and control staff dealt with the usual high volume of calls from people needing our assistance in life threatening situations. a small number of these made headlines including a fatal road incident in Crossgar, an assault on a young father of two which resulted in his death and a number of sudden deaths of young men in the Belfast area.
Each of these calls is dealt with in the most professional manner by our staff, from the call taker to the crews who arrive at the scene.
Despite this frontline crews and staff in control continue to receive abuse from a small minority who have no regard for their own safety or that of our staff.
On Saturday morning a female call taker was subject to extreme vulgar abuse while taking a call from a member of the public. Although there is no acceptable level of tolerance of this behaviour, it was so bad on this occasion that details have been passed to PSNI who expect to follow it up.
On Sunday evening a crew from Larne was tasked to Whitehead for a male patient who had himself been the victim of an assault. While transporting the patient to hospital the crew reported that the patient was becoming violent in the back of the ambulance and requested police assistance as a matter of urgency. The crew exited the vehicle while awaiting the arrival of PSNI during which time a degree of damage was caused.
NIAS understands that this person was charged by PSNI.
It is regrettable that, once again, we find ourselves having to report this incidents in the media to highlight the fact that, despite ongoing educational campaigns, these incidents continue to happen almost daily.
The Trust welcomes the fact that courts have begun to issue custodial sentences for such behaviour and we hope that the real threat of prison can act as a deterrent to people who engage in such activity.