A VICIOUS attack on two paramedics attending an emergency call has been branded 'absolutely abhorrent' by ambulance bosses.

Specialist paramedic Andrew Ormerod was spat out, punched, and assaulted as he tried to help a man who was lying in Lane End Road, Bacup bleeding.

Mr Ormerod, who is based in Burnley, had been dispatched in a rapid response vehicle alone just before 8pm on Sunday. Shortly after arriving the man became violent and started lashing out.

As well spitting blood, he punched Mr Ormerod in the face smashing his glasses and leaving him with spinal injuries.

An off-duty police officer stopped to help and enabled Mr Ormerod to use his radio to alert colleagues who informed the police.

An ambulance arrived minutes later and while trying to diffuse the situation a second paramedic, John Liddle, was also attacked and left with a fractured hand.

Police arrested the man and despite his behaviour the ambulance crew continued to treat his hand injuries.

Officers are now investigating the incident.

Community leaders said the incident was 'concerning' especially in the run up to Christmas when demand on the ambulance service increases.

Mr Ormerod, 42, of Brockhall Village, Langho, described the experience as 'extremely traumatic, shocking and unacceptable'.

He said: "I was working a 12-hour shift and was called out to a category one emergency which is determined as an immediate threat to life.

"The nature of the job came through as a young man lying in the road who was full of blood and not responding.

"So as you can imagine, this man could have been been hit by a car, or become unresponsive with a head injury, or been subject to an assault.

"But as I got to the scene I saw that this man was staggering around in the road.

"I went to make an approach to the patient and got him to sit on a wall at the side of the road, then crouched down and introduced myself.

"I said my name and managed to get his first name but then his body language started to change, so I decided to stand back.

"As I backed off from him, he then jumped up and started to attack me. He was punching and spitting at me.

"He then grabbed hold of me and I continued to be subjected to an assault in the road.

"As we were rolling around in front of the rapid response car, it was very fortunate for me that an off-duty police officer from Greater Manchester came to assist me.

"I managed to press the panic button on my radio.

"My colleague John hastily made his approach to the scene, and as he was trying to assist me and the police officer to get the man on the stretcher, he ended up with a broken hand.

"We didn't realise we'd been injured until after the attack."

Following the incident the pair drove to hospital and sought treatment.

Mr Ormerod suffered spinal injuries and numbness in his forearm, while Mr Liddle sustained a fractured hand.

Miraculously, Mr Ormerod has been able to return to work, but Mr Liddle is expected to be off for at least six to eight weeks.

The pair are now calling for their attacker to be prosecuted, with Mr Ormerod concerned there has been a rise in assaults on paramedics in recent years.

He fears that things could get worse with Christmas just round the corner. In the last 12 months alone, there have been 68 reported assaults on ambulance staff in Lancashire.

He said: "I've been able to return to work but in the control centre, as currently I'm unable to drive the rapid response vehicles due to my injuries.

"There has been a rise in attacks on ambulance staff although it’s hard to say what the reason is for this.

"December and the festive period is always a busy month where paramedics can be more prone to assault.

"I'd like to see the man behind this attack prosecuted, as what has happened is wholly unacceptable and shocking.

"We work on the frontline to help others and should not have to be subjected to such assaults."

Ian Walmsley, sector manager at North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), said: “It’s absolutely abhorrent that our staff have been subject to such vile and disgusting behaviour by a member of the public after arriving to help.

"We fully support the staff members involved and will push for prosecution.

"This treatment will not be tolerated.”