North-east paramedics fear entering 169 homes amid safety concerns

Ambulance crews are prevented from entering almost 170 addresses in the north-east amid fears for their safety, new figures have shown.

The Scottish Ambulance Service has marked 2,557 homes across Scotland as “red flagged” where paramedics can only go in to respond to a 999 call with the presence of a police officer.

The statistics, which were released through Freedom of Information, show there are currently 169 “red-flagged” addresses in and around Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

North-east MSP Tom Mason said: “It’s well-documented just how vital a role lifesaving ambulance workers play in Scotland.

“So it’s quite shocking to see there are more than 2,500 Scottish addresses where they can’t safely go about their work.

“It is hugely surprising to find out so many of these addresses are in the AB postcode area.

“No paramedic should ever fear for their own wellbeing, especially when they are dedicating their lives to helping others.

“We clearly need to do more to keep them safe, which means tough action from the courts when those assaulting, or threatening to assault, ambulance workers are caught.”

The new figures can be broken down to cities and regions, but no further due to patient confidentiality.

There are currently 820 “red-flagged” addresses in and around Glasgow, the highest number, and 469 in the Lothians.

That is followed by 216 in Lanarkshire ML postcode zone, 191 in Ayrshire and 150 in Fife.

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Getting to the sickest patients will always be our priority, regardless of whether the police are in attendance.

“Our staff are trained in assessing risk and managing aggression so that they can make a sensible decision based on the circumstances.

“Our staff should not fear for their safety when working, which is why we have introduced a range of measures to help protect them. Individual addresses where staff have previously faced violence or threatening behaviour are automatically flagged to our crews, who can then request additional support, only if required.”

 

- Evening Express