In a further bid to support the prosecution of people who assault frontline paramedics and ambulance clinicians East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) will be introducing spit collection kits onto every patient-facing vehicle in the coming weeks.
Throughout the coronavirus health crisis, NHS emergency workers have continued to experience unacceptable behaviour from either the people they are treating or friends of the patient.
It is hoped that with the implementation of these new spit kits, samples can be taken immediately under PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act) conditions and used as evidence in court prosecutions.
While the College of Paramedics recognises why EEAST has felt the need to launch spit kits, the underlying issue here is the ongoing workplace violence and aggression which paramedics and ambulance clinicians are routinely subjected to. Abuse against emergency workers should not be seen as an occupational hazard. We believe more needs to be done to highlight this increasing and dangerous issue affecting today’s frontline workforce.
This latest initiative comes two years after a pilot scheme in which 465 ambulances and their paramedics were equipped with body cameras to help protect them from verbal and physical abuse and increase prosecutions.