South East Coast Ambulance Service joins Work Without Fear campaign in face of growing violence against staff

Ambulance staff have faced growing pressures (Photo Secamb)

South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) joins colleagues across England in supporting the launch of a national campaign today (February 28) which aims to address the growing aggression and violence aimed at ambulance staff.

The Work Without Fear campaign has been instigated because of a growing number of staff reporting being abused or attacked. Nationally, nearly 12,000 staff – an increase of 35 per cent in the last five years – were targeted but the most significant rise happened during first year of the pandemic when assaults jumped by 23 per cent compared with the year before.

Locally, SECAmb has also seen an increase in reported violence and aggression in the last three years. Numbers have jumped from 584 reported cases in 2019 to 921 last year – an increase of more than 50 per cent – including 287 reported physical assaults. When aggravating factors were reported, drugs and alcohol came top followed by mental health.

SECAmb Chief Executive, Philip Astle said: “It is deeply saddening that while, as a nation we came together during the height of the pandemic to praise frontline NHS colleagues for their efforts, there were still a small minority of people intent on abusing and attacking our staff.

“Our staff are here to help patients and they should be able to do so without fear.   We do whatever is required to ensure staff safety and if they are abused, we will not hesitate to seek legal action.

“We are supporting those staff who are attacked to seek justice offered through the Assaults on Emergency Workers Offences Act 2018 so that we may deter others from thinking is it acceptable to behaviour violently towards emergency workers.”

SECAmb’s security lead is working with the Trust’s police colleagues, through their work on Operation Cavell – a national operation to tackle violence and anti-social behaviour against NHS staff and to ensure that cases are taken forward.

Health and Safety Manager, Brett Walford said: “It is a sad fact that our staff are facing this type of behaviour; they staff deserve better. We will work with our police colleagues and support our staff in any way we can.”

SECAmb is also trialling body worn cameras in six locations across our region and the footage can be used as evidence in cases of violence or abuse.


  1. I have seen people drugged up attacking staff in QEQM A&E. No action appeared to be taken against them as they were ‘ill’. Such behavior cannot be accepted and there needs to be an assessment after the event and the person guilty of the offense needs to be held to account. I don’t know how to do this, but there must be many different resources and studies which will point us in the right direction. People out of control are affecting other sick people who also need to be protected from those not in control of themselves. People do not have ‘human rights’ to abuse others. Having been identified, they must be positively helped to mend their ways.

  2. If ‘patients’ are aggressive – leave them where they are, or put them straight in to ‘straight jackets’.
    We must not have NHS or SECAMB staff lives endangered by drugged or drunk cretins, or Police, for that matter.

  3. Rather depends what is recorded as aggression-a patient coming round in the ambulance or in a hospital bed & ripping their line out & kicking off & you don’t have to be drunk or on drugs for that to happen clearly should not be counted.

    Also, if you surveyed people in any job-retail, office etc you would likely find most had aggression directed toward them every day multiple times-not just by the customers, but by colleagues & superiors. With a lot of the snowflakes around today & the Stonewall written woke NHS policies who is to say somebody using the ‘incorrect pronoun’ isn’t being recorded as aggression?

    We also have to remember that the ambulances, like the police are dealing with the lowest common denominators of society at their worst times-overdoses & stupours. Factor in that society has totally shifted to a selfish, wanting everything now fed by companies & people’s manners have deteriorated over the decades & it is no wonder they are encountering more of this.

    Of course the NHS themselves have a huge bullying culture from management at any attempt to whistle-blow & even just for people trying to do their job. They even try to bully the public who have been maimed, or lost loved ones due to their incompetence into going away. So maybe they should clean their own house up first?

    Quite simply if somebody is acting like this then NHS help is withdrawn & the police turn up-so the crew can actually help people who need & appreciate it. Then serious action needs to be taken & judges need to start sentencing to deter others. It also needs to be done on a sensible case basis-somebody coming round from an anesthetic for surgery who lashes out, or somebody who has fallen & hit their head & it turns out has suffered a brain injury for instance cannot be treated the same as some tanked up yahoo assaulting paramedics & hospital staff.

  4. Just wait until the economic crisis bites deeper; more violence, drug-taking, roving bands of lunatics on the streets denied care, restrictions of service etc.

    Now it seems to we are expected to accommodate hundreds of thousands of refugees into areas already most likely already housing deficient.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if laws are passed which tax empty bedrooms even if privately owned, maybe as a prompt to get homeowners to (reluctantly) accept refugee strangers?

Comments are closed.