NORTH West Ambulance Service is launching a campaign to stop paramedics being abused.
Figures show 234 staff were assaulted for the last financial year, more than 40% up on the previous year.
In 2007 one paramedic crew was so badly injured they were removed from duty along with the ambulance as there was no relief crew available.
The Stop Abuse campaign, in conjuction with police and Pub Watch, will be launched next Wednesday during NHS Security Awareness Month at five venues across the region provided by pub chain Wetherspoon’s, including at its new Chester venue Forest House, Love Street.
John Burnside, chief executive of NWAS, said: “This time of year has also been selected due to its proximity to the build up to Christmas and start of the celebratory season. Unfortunately, this can also mean the start of increased abuse to ambulance staff responding to emergency calls.”
All pubs and clubs within the identified towns and cities covered by Pubwatch will receive posters telling the public that verbal abuse and physical assaults on ambulance staff won’t be tolerated.
Stagecoach bus company has agreed to display the Your Choice of Treatment posters on all its buses throughout the North West, free of charge, which will also be on all ambulances.
Ambulance staff will be given a leaflet detailing what they can expect to happen if they become a victim.
The ambulance service hopes that by working with other agencies which also face aggression and sharing information, it will be possible to deal more effectively with perpetrators of violence.
There are currently 67 cases of assault going before the police from last year and 41 cases in which sanctions have already been applied.
An NWAS spokesman said: “This campaign is not an isolated one but rather a long term message that we will continue to reinforce in a variety of ways that violence and aggression on ambulance staff is not acceptable.
“There are further plans to bring in phase two of the campaign, which will include working with other NHS Trusts, GP surgeries, off licences and national car parks to continue this in spring of 2009.”