Ambulance staff ‘assaulted for asking patients to wear face mask’

An ambulance worker wearing PPE (PA Media)
12:47pm, Wed 27 May 2020
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Ambulance crews have been assaulted after asking patients suspected of having coronavirus to wear a surgical mask, according to health chiefs.

The Welsh Ambulance Service said some patients have become aggressive when asked to wear the face covering as a precautionary measure and a “small number” of medics have been attacked.

Crews are now attending every call across Wales in protective equipment, which includes masks, visors, aprons and coveralls, in addition to their standard gloves.

Some patients are also being asked to wear a surgical mask as a precautionary measure to halt the spread of Covid-19, especially those who exhibit symptoms.

But a growing number of patients have become aggressive when being asked to comply, the Trust has reported.

Claire Roche, executive director of quality and nursing, said: “At this time, our crews will attend all incidents with personal protective equipment.

“What you may not be aware of is that they may also ask you, the patient, to put on a surgical mask.

“The reason they do this is to not only protect you but also for the protection of the people around you.

“If we do ask you to put on a mask, please do not be alarmed and follow the instructions of our staff.

“We understand how distressing this situation may be and we also understand that putting on a mask while having shortness of breath may seem counter-intuitive but it is the right thing to do.

“Unfortunately, over the past few weeks, our staff have reported a growing number of instances in which patients have been aggressive and have even been the subject of an assault after asking a patient to put on a mask.

“Assaulting our staff is never acceptable, no matter the circumstances.”

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