Suspected drugged up patient injures three paramedics in attacks in Newtownards
Three paramedics have been injured by a male reportedly on drugs while responding to an emergency call in the Newtownards area on Saturday night.
As a result of the attacks just one crew was left to cover the north Down area, with the injured staff being taken to Ulster Hospital emergency department to have their injuries examined.
It is the second weekend in a row in which ambulance staff have sustained injuries after responding to emergency calls.
The first attack happened while the crew were attempting to transport the patient to Ulster Hospital in Dundonald.
On the way to the hospital he assaulted the paramedic in the back of the ambulance, causing back and shoulder injuries.
Once they arrived at the hospital another ambulance crew came to assist their colleagues, with two more crew members being injured after the patient kicked out.
The man was eventually restrained by six people, including the PSNI and South Eastern Trust security staff, after which he was taken into the department.
Chief Executive of the Ambulance Service Michael Bloomfield expressed concern about the damage the attacks were having on staff and the local community.
“I am appalled that, for the second consecutive weekend, Ambulance Service staff have been subjected to an attack in the north Down area leaving them unable to continue with their duties which are so much relied upon by the community," he said.
"The men and women of the Ambulance Service leave their homes and families to go and serve the most vulnerable in our community when they most need it. These patients include those who may have suffered cardiac arrest or been involved in serious road traffic collisions and who have families who need our skills and support.
"We cannot provide our service if staff are taken off shift as a result of injuries sustained from assaults, and once again ambulance services in this area were considerably reduced last night as a result of this attack.
"My immediate concern is for those staff who were the victims of last night's incident. While their injuries are not serious, I am concerned about the long-term emotional impact.
"While we will do all we can, as an organisation, to support them in their recovery, the solution to this lies within society as a whole. These attacks are totally unacceptable and, while thankful for their support to date, I would appeal to parents, guardians, community leaders and others with influence to redouble their efforts in helping us protect our staff through engaging others on this issue.
"Once again, I would also re-iterate our view that those who commit such attacks should face the full rigour of the law, including custodial sentences.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital