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Teen bailed after ambulance crew attacked on callout

By David Young

Published 19/02/2016

The assault occurred after the crew responded to a callout in the Finaghy Road North area of south Belfast
The assault occurred after the crew responded to a callout in the Finaghy Road North area of south Belfast

A teenager has been arrested after two paramedics were attacked in their ambulance.

The assault occurred after the crew responded to a callout in Finaghy Road North in Belfast.

The youth is alleged to have punched one of the paramedics in the face and chest.

The man's female colleague was left badly shaken following the incident.

The attack occurred just after 3pm on Wednesday.

Both paramedics are now on sick leave as a result.

The ambulance was damaged and has had to be withdrawn from service while repairs are carried out.

It is believed that the 17-year-old allegedly involved requested that the ambulance be sent out in the first place.

Police confirmed that the patient was arrested at the scene on suspicion of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and criminal damage.

However, he was released on bail to return for a police interview at a later date.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) condemned the assault on its paramedics.

"Any attacks on ambulance personnel are unacceptable and have a lasting impact on our personnel, who are victims when in fact they are simply trying to be carers," a spokesman said.

"On this occasion, the male crew member was physically punched in the chest and face, sustaining injuries to his face.

"The female crew member was badly shaken.

"These types of attacks can leave emotional scars on staff and these scars can remain for some time.

"Both crew members are now on sickness absence.

"The ambulance vehicle was also damaged during the incident and is off the road for repairs.

"All these types of incidents impact on the NIAS's ability to respond due to a reduction in staffing and vehicles resources.

"The NIAS utterly condemns these assaults on staff, who are focused on providing emergency care to those who are in need of our service.

"As an organisation, the NIAS will support all measures that may be taken to tackle the problem of attacks on healthcare and emergency staff.

"We have also been active in the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety-led zero tolerance campaign."

There are an estimated 250 assaults on ambulance workers across Northern Ireland every year.

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