AN EAST Lancashire paramedic has spoken of the attacks which make ambulance workers’ lives a misery.

Zoe Griffiths, 27, from Trawden in Pendle, said she had faced being spat at while trying to tend to an emergency patient, and said colleagues had been punched, kicked, and even threatened with knives.

Verbal and physical attacks on ambulance crews have continued to increase, despite the North West Ambulance Service’s Stop Abuse campaign, which was launched last November.

Miss Griffiths, who has worked as an ambulance technician for four years, before becoming a paramedic four months ago, said problems were geting worse.

She said: “The worst time was when a patient was shouting and swearing and then spat in my face. It was horrible.

“I don’t come to work to be spat at I come to help people. Another time, a patient was being very personal with their verbal abuse, talking about how I looked, my weight and my age.

“I was in tears.

“I have heard about colleagues being slapped and punched, and having knives pulled on them. It is scary and it makes you worry when you go on jobs. We have had to ask for police back-up a lot more.”

Incidents recorded by NWAS include a crew member being bitten on the hand in an argument between two women, and a patient trying to punch a paramedic in the face.

On average, there has been one physical attack every three weeks this year, compared to one a month between April and December, 2008.

Del Wray, of NWAS, said: “It is totally unacceptable that emergency workers should face aggression.

“We are committed to addressing this issue and, as part of this, we launched the Stop Abuse campaign last November with other partner agencies.”