Concerns over ‘no-go’ areas for paramedics at risk of attacks in Hartlepool

North East Ambulance Service has flagged up seven areas in Hartlepool over fears for paramedics
North East Ambulance Service has flagged up seven areas in Hartlepool over fears for paramedics

Hartlepool’s MP has thrown his backing behind efforts to toughen up the law over attacks on emergency workers after claiming seven addresses in town are ‘no go’ areas for ambulance crews.

That is how many parts of Hartlepool have been flagged by North East Ambulance Service bosses where paramedics may need the back up of police.

Hartlepool  MP Mike Hill

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill

MP for Hartlepool Mike Hill said he has been contacted by a number of constituents about the issue.

He is supporting fellow Labour MP Chris Bryant’s efforts for a new law making attacks on paramedics a specific offence.

Mr Hill said: “Clearly it is unacceptable that those who rush to the medical assistance of citizens end up under threat of assault.

“Even though seven will be seen by some as a low number, I share the opinion of NEAS and UNISON that just one attack is one too many, which is why I am supporting Chris Bryant’s endeavour to change the law.

“I have had a number of constituents contact me about this so I would like to state categorically that I will be attending the debate on his proposal and will vote in favour of it given the chance.”

The North East Ambulance Service said the flagged addresses may mean they request police back up before to entering a property, send alternative or additional resources and inform crews to proceed with caution.

Alan Gallagher, head of risk and regulatory services at North East Ambulance Service said: “As a responsible employer, we take every precaution possible to ensure that our staff are safe whilst at work.

“We have a process to flag addresses where an individual at the property may be deemed as posing a risk to staff safety.

“These flags are created following incidents reported by staff when they have attended an individual and felt at risk.

“Having these on record enables us to do a risk assessment with every call associated with that address to ensure that the most appropriate resources are sent to the patient.”

Chris Bryant, the MP for Rhondda, in Wales, is trying to get the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill through Parliament.

Its second reading will go before the House of Commons next month.

Mr Bryant said: “The way our emergency workers are treated is a national disgrace.

“They are spat at, punched, attacked or even stabbed whilst they are trying to save other people’s lives.

“It is already a specific offence to attack a police officer conducting their duties under Section 89(1) of the Police Act 1996, but that provision is far too weak and has proved ineffective in protecting officers.

“Prosecutions are rare, sentences are extremely lenient – and there is still no legal protection for paramedics, doctors or nurses.

“I will be urging every single MP to turn up to vote for this Bill to protect the protectors. It’s the least they deserve.”