North West Ambulance Service has launched a campaign to rally the public to condemn acts of violence against emergency service staff.
The #GetBehind999 initiative follows 1,249 acts of violence and aggression against ambulance staff in the north west last year.
Interim Chief Executive, Mick Forrest said: “Today, we will be joined by colleagues from the fire and police services and NWAS staff who have been victims of violence and aggression in launching our #getbehind999 campaign.
“Staff will be sharing their experiences via a short film and we will be sharing their stories on the day and throughout the next fortnight on social media to highlight what is a growing problem.”
In 2013/14 NWAS staff reported 939 incidents of physical, verbal abuse and threatening behaviour, a figure which has risen year-on-year and in 2017/18, the figure stood at 1,249.
Out of the incidents reported 47 were sexual assaults, 94 involved a blade and 466 were physical assaults.
NWAS will be providing pubs and clubs with posters and beer mats to press home the message. Certificates will also be available for clubs, social groups and businesses who sign the pledge so these can be displayed to show their support.
Mr Forrest said: “This is a problem which affects us all. If an ambulance crew are attacked while out on the road, they need to come off duty. They might need treatment, or to provide the police with statements and this takes a vital resource off the road and unable to respond to an emergency.
“One of my worst fears as Interim Chief Executive is that I am going to be woken in the night to be informed of the death or life changing injury of a colleague because of an assault. I cannot imagine what it must be like to have to manage a situation like that and I sincerely hope I never have to.”
NWAS has an online pledge and page to find out more on the trust’s website www.nwas.nhs.uk.