Stiffer punishment sought for attacks on UK medics

The penalties handed down are not sufficient to deter further attacks, health care organization says

DUDLEY, England — Officials call on judges to impose the highest possible penalties and sentences on members of the public who assault EMS staff.

Over the past six months, paramedics in the West Midlands region of England have been kicked, punched, spat at, and threatened with knives and death threats.

"It is quite outrageous that our staff are having to put up with such violence. The board is determined that we should do everything possible to protect our staff," said Anthony Marsh, National Health Service (NHS) Trust Chief Executive.

In the first six months of 2015 the number of physical attacks on medics rose by almost 30 percent (139 incidents), while verbal attacks rose by 13 percent (246 incidents reported).

"The penalties handed down are simply not sufficient to deter people currently," said NHS Regional Security Manager Steve Keller. "We need sentences to be a deterrent so that people think twice before they attack our staff.

"The fact that some of our staff do not report cases of violence because they do not believe that enough action will be taken against the perpetrator is a sad reflection on how they feel."

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