Ambulance service calls for tougher sentences on attackers after paramedic's wrist broken - The Rugby Observer

Ambulance service calls for tougher sentences on attackers after paramedic's wrist broken

TOUGHER sentences should be given to people who assault ambulance medics, say staff at West Midlands Ambulance Service after paramedics were kicked by a man they were trying to help.

Amy Holtom had her wrist broken while a colleague suffered cuts and bruising to his legs after both were kicked by a patient who was wearing steel toe capped shoes.

Adam George James was charged with actual bodily harm and common assault.

He was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court to a 14-month custodial sentence suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 150 hours community service and pay a victim surcharge of £140.

West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust has written to the Attorney General asking for the sentence to be reviewed.

The incident took place in July last year after James was found unconscious in Birmingham.

Ambulance staff started pre-hospital clinical support, during which James regained consciousness and started using foul language towards the crew.

He kicked out at the two crew members, resulting in both needing hospital treatment and up to six weeks off work.

Amy Holtom slammed James’ sentence as ‘appalling’ and said it showed how little the courts think of paramedics.

She added: “Anyone else would have been looking at time in jail, but yet again ambulance staff have been let down by the legal system.”

West Midlands Ambulance Service trust chief executive Anthony Marsh, who requested the appeal against James’ sentence, said: “I find it hugely frustrating that so many of my staff have been let down by the sentences given.

“There is no question in my mind that this warranted a custodial sentence.

“As well as the pain, suffering and emotional scarring of these staff, the public lost the services of two highly trained ambulance clinicians for a total of eight weeks.

“Those shifts had to be covered, which meant overtime and additional cost to the NHS at a time when budgets are already stretched.

“The legal system is there to protect emergency workers who risk their lives for others and it is their expectation that the courts will ensure the full force of the law is applied in such cases.”

The Trust’s head of security Steve Elliker said it was never appropriate for staff to be abused verbally or physically.

He added: “It is almost unbelievable that even this level of violence did not result in a custodial sentence. It is time that the Courts handed down sentences that act as a deterrent against future assaults.”

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