Disgust at attack on paramedic

A 44 year-old man has been arrested for an attack on a paramedic in Derry.

The man became violent as ambulance staff tried to assist him at Northland Road on Sunday at around 9.20pm. He was arrested for assault, attempted criminal damage and assaulting police. He remained in custody yesterday.

John McPoland, of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, paid tribute to the paramedic who continued to work his shift despite being attacked.

He said that Derry “could have been without” one of its ambulances but for the dedication of the staff member.

Mr McPoland said such attacks on staff are becoming more common. “We have noticed a rise in the number of attacks on staff of a verbal and physical nature.” He said that “the figures have been creeping up in the past number of years”.

Mr McPoland added that the “vast number” of attacks on ambulance staff were committed by people under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

SDLP Health spokesperson, Assemblyman Mark H Durkan, said he was “disgusted” at the latest attack on a medical professional.

“I have called before for a zero tolerance approach to all attacks on medical staff and I am now reiterating that call.

“This type of atrocious attack is happening on our streets every week. It has become part and parcel of the job for our hard working medical staff but it shouldn’t be this way; attacks have to stop.

“Their roles are so valuable in the community and they should be allowed to work unhindered by verbal and physical abuse.”