An angry member of the public has called for an “automatic jail sentence policy” for anyone who attacks health service staff, in a letter to the Mail.
The call for a “zero tolerance” approach to this sort of crime comes just after an ambulance crew were left “unfit for duty” following a violent and unprovoked in Cookstown early on Sunday.
Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said two of their staff needed hospital treatment after both them and their vehicle were attacked by a man an eyewitness described as a “six foot plus maniac”.
They were trying to treat an unconscious woman at the time. Read more here.
The anonymous letter-writer has outlined their disgust that paramedics face similar attacks every 10 days.
“The attack on these two paramedics and jeopardy to the safety of the already seriously injured patient just beggars belief,” they stated.
A zero tolerance, automatic jail sentence policy should be introduced immediately - not a kid glove approach - anonymous letter writer
“That could have been you or I lying in the back of the ambulance having suffered a stroke or heart attack.”
“Now coming to light is the fact that there are similar attacks every 10 days. Couple this with previously recorded stats that show there are 17 daily attacks on our front line medics in hospitals and one can only reasonably conclude that enough is enough.
“Doctors, nurses, medical staff and ambulance personnel have dedicated their lives to all of our health care, including that of the thugs who abuse them, ironically.”
Calling for action, the letter added: “Now must be the time for us all to show our unreserved support in demanding that their well-being be properly protected.
“I would urge everyone to contact their local politicians and if need be beyond, firstly to condemn all these attacks and then to insist upon greater protection for our NHS staff from the law.
“A zero tolerance, automatic jail sentence policy should be introduced immediately - not a kid glove approach with only minimal lip service being afforded by those in authority.”
The letter was signed “Concerned supporter of our NHS staff”.