North East emergency service workers share hard-hitting stories of violence and abuse in new campaign

Emergency workers have shared shocking stories of violence and abuse they have faced in new hard-hitting videos released to raise awareness.

Monday, 3rd May 2021, 10:50 am
Emergency workers (clockwise from left) Milka, Julie Gillon, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust chief executive, and Ruth Corbett of the North East Ambulance Service.

Hospital staff from North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, including those from the town, feature in the videos alongside ambulance, police, and fire colleagues.

They all follow the theme ‘it happened to me’ with emergency workers telling of abuse they have been faced with from police officers threatened with dangerous weapons to the racial abuse of health care workers.

The videos have been released to highlight the plight of the emergency services and ask the public to #DoYourBit and help keep them safe as lockdown restrictions ease.

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Julie Gillon, Chief Executive for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The pandemic really shone a light on the hard work and dedication of our emergency services and key workers across the country.

"These individuals have had a long 15 months, and it is not over yet. On behalf of all of those colleagues, I would implore the public to follow the guidance issued, continue to support all of our key workers and ultimately to be kind.”

Healthcare assistant Milka said: “You could be black, white it makes no difference, you’re here to give people help and support – not to be abused.”

Attacks on emergency service workers are shown to be increasing year on year.

In October last year the North East Ambulance Service reported a 21 per cent increase in physical assaults on its crews during lockdown recording an astounding 76 attacks.

The story of two ambulance workers who took early retirement following attacks whilst on duty are featured in the two new videos which the hospital trust has uploaded to its YouTube channel.

Ruth Corbett, clinical operations manager at North East Ambulance Service, says in the video: “In the last 12 months I’ve had two staff who’ve taken early retirement following being attacked at work.

"One who was spat at, kicked, punched screamed at. The other one was held at knife point unable to get out the property.”

It followed the service’s worst night for attacks in living memory in November.

People can watch the videos in full at: and

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