ATTACKS on ambulance staff in Hampshire are becoming increasingly common, with some call-outs requiring police escorts.
Paramedics in the south are now more likely than ever to be on the receiving end of aggressive behaviour, both physical and verbal, in line with a national trend that saw more than 2,800 attacks on staff in England in 2017.
Figures from the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) showed that between the financial years of 2015-2016 and 2017-2018 there was a 36 per cent increase in reports of abuse and aggressive or inappropriate behaviour from patients towards staff, from 368 to 499.
A spokesman for SCAS, which covers Hampshire as well as Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire, condemned the rise in abuse. He said: 'Our staff continue to suffer completely unacceptable verbal and physical abuse whilst at work and trying to ensure patients get the help they need.
'SCAS will work closely with local police forces in the South Central region to secure appropriate sanctions against anyone who verbally abuses or physically assaults our staff.'
Nine addresses within the SCAS remit were also red-flagged between the financial year of 2017-2018, indicating that staff should only attend that address with prior police presence. The locations of these marked addresses includes Gosport, Waterlooville and Southampton.
Across England there were more than 1,400 red-flagged homes in 2017.
The SCAS spokesperson explained why an address might be red-flagged. He said: 'These features are added primarily as a result of intelligence received by the police relating to known aggression or violence of people at a property, or where known criminal activity has taken place at the property.
'Staff do not approach or attend the property to undertake a dynamic risk assessment but await (a short distance from the property) confirmation from police officers inside that it is safe for them to come in.'
Addresses can also be marked for other reasons such as clinical, to include information about a patient's particular medical needs, or for access arrangements, in case a key or code is needed to get into a patient's home.
Other non-clinical features could include the presence of unrestrained or dangerous dogs in the home or the presence of weapons.
The North West Ambulance Service, which covers Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Merseyside, Cumbria and Lancashire, was England's worst area for assaults with 756 red-flagged addresses.