Norwich paramedic Heidi speaks out about patient abuse on This Morning
- Credit: Archant
A paramedic who was sexually assaulted by a patient has appeared on ITV's This Morning to back a campaign to make assaults against medical staff a criminal offence.
Heidi, who is based at East of England Ambulance Service Trust's Longwater Depot in Costessey, endured a nightmare experience on a shift when she was groped and kissed by a 75-year-old patient.
Speaking to hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby she said staff are used to verbal, physical and sexual abuse when working weekend shifts but what happened to her was different.
'He was a retired professional, he was very articulate, very well educated,' she said. 'He was a very ostentatious man and he understood my demands to stop but he just didn't.
'So we can't predict anymore who it is going to be as it happens so regularly.'
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Heidi appeared alongside LBC presenter Nick Ferrari who has launched a petition to make assaults against medical staff a criminal offence, like it is for police officers. It already has nearly 85,000 signatures.
Heidi's attacker was given a 12-month conditional discharge and had to pay her £300 in compensation and she said the assault has changed the way she approaches her job.
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'I don't come to work anymore with the enthusiasm that I used to because you are always extra cautious about what might happen,' she said. 'In some ways he has done me a small favour as where I used to not have much concerns now I have become extra cautious whenever I assess patients.
'So in that way it has made me more aware of more surroundings in a way I assumed I never had to be.'
There are 193 assaults on doctors, nurses and paramedics every day in England and in 2015/16 there were 232 attacks on ambulance staff working for the East of England Ambulance Service Trust by patients.
• To sign the petition visit petition.parliament.uk/petitions