Paramedic attacked with eight inch knife while on duty backs body cams
- Credit: EEAST
A senior paramedic who was attacked with an eight inch knife while resuscitating a patient has backed an NHS crackdown against abuse.
Of those, 347 physical assaults between 2019 and 2020 on EEAST staff, 62 of which were in Norfolk and Waveney and 71 in Suffolk and north Essex.
In 2016, Alan Jones and a colleague attended an address in Great Yarmouth following reports of a cardiac arrest and found a man and a woman requiring resuscitation.
Mr Jones, leading operations manager for Waveney, said: "We ushered him away and treating the other patient when he came back into the room with an eight inch carving knife and tried to put it into my colleague's back.
"I saw him coming and took him on and disarmed him.
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"I did a double take and realised what was going on. I'm not sure my colleague would be here today.
"My colleague was left with PTSD."
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Mr Jones, from Carlton Colville, near Lowestoft, has worked in the ambulance service for 33 years, 23 at EEAST.
Dynamic risk assessments are carried out before crews enter a premise, but it is not always possible to identify all risks he said.
The senior paramedic said: "It's an excellent announcement. It's a tool in our armory to help remind people they are being filmed and deter them. It's a deterrent, people know they are being filmed.
"It's really detrimental to the service. We lose members of the team sometimes for six to 12 months
"Some staff never come back.
"We're here to help not to be abused."
The trust has secured funding for up to three years for the body cams.
Medics will wear the cameras and be able to press a button to start recording if patients or the public became aggressive or abusive, with filming made available to police where needed.
Jason Gillingham, directorate head for compliance, standards and assurance for EEAST, said: “Nobody should feel threatened or unsafe as they go about their jobs helping their community and we feel the presence of the cameras will drive down the number of assaults our staff suffer.
“These assaults can have a long-lasting impact on our staff and it’s vital that we look after them."