Friday, November 07, 2008

UK woman threatens paramedic with AIDS

By Emily-Ann Elliott The Argus

SOUTH EAST COAST, UK — A woman with hepatitis C smeared blood on a paramedic's face and told him he would be infected with AIDS, the South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust has revealed.

The patient was given a two-month custodial sentence for the offence which happened in Hove in September as the paramedic attempted to treat her.

The health threat to the paramedic is believed to be negligible, but the prosecution has been highlighted as part of this year's NHS Security Awareness Month.

The service recorded 69 assaults against its staff between April 2007 and April 2008 and has warned it takes a zero-tolerance policy towards violence and abuse against its staff.

Other prosecutions include a 17-year-old male who was given a three-month referral and ordered to pay £50 compensation after biting and bruising a paramedic in Uckfield in August 2008 and a man was recently jailed for four years for possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of unlawful violence after threatening a paramedic in Worthing in September 2005.

Paul Sutton, the service's chief executive, said: "We want to ensure that our staff can provide the care they need to, and patients can receive this, in an environment that is safe and secure.
"It's simply not acceptable that staff perceive abusive behaviour towards them as just a part of the job. They deserve to be able to serve their local communities in safety."

This month security specialists will visit ambulance staff to educate them on what to do if they become a victim of violence and the options available to them when dealing with abusive people.
David Dixon, South East Coast Ambulance's security management specialist, said: "We will be working throughout Security Awareness Month and beyond to raise awareness among our staff so they understand they don't have to accept abusive and violent behaviour.

"We have achieved a number of successful prosecutions this year by working with the police and Crown Prosecution Service.

"We also want staff to know that there are alternative measures available to us such as private prosecutions, civil action and ASBOs which can be taken against those who threaten them."

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