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Attacks on Paramedics Trigger Research Project on Need For Body

Too many paramedics are still opposed to wearing stab vests or other forms of protection, due to simple misperception of such protective equipment.

I am of course aware of all internal surveys, conducted by NHS Ambulance Trusts up and down the country, concluding that stab vests are not wanted by their frontline staff. However, I strongly believe this is only the casey due to misperception and sometimes not getting the facts right.

I have recently met members of the Association of Professional Ambulance Personnel (APAP) and a number of worried paramedics and came to the conclusion that many professionals still associate stab vests or similar types of body protection with the type of body armour worn by police officers over the past many years.

Many paramedics still believe stab vests are 6kg heavy, 1 inch thick, bulky, uncomfortable, restrictive and aggressive and confrontational looking. But this is so far away from the truth.

We are fully aware that the majority of incidents have got nothing to do with edged weapons, knives or needles. The majority of assaults are what we class as 'blunt trauma related incidents'. This is why we have developed concealable, 4mm thin, 2.1kg light stab vests and body protection that protects the wearer from any type of knife and needle, but more importantly also from punches, kicks and any type of blows.

Incidents, such as the attack on a paramedic in Merseyside on 5th August 2010, the attack on Aberdeen based paramedic on 12th August 2010 and the attack on a Norfolk paramedic on the 16th August, all highlight the fact that assaults on those who serve and care every day are still a sad part of today's society.

We strongly recommend to all NHS Ambulance Trusts to re-look at the potential use of stab vests within their authority. Recently developed body armour have been designed after listening very carefully to paramedics and gaining a clear understanding of their concerns, needs and operational risk and duties.

I think it is time to really ask paramedics the right questions and educate them in a caring and supportive manner. Let's show them what can be done and what has been designed and developed with their safety and comfort in mind.

We have now launched our own independent survey, and we would very much like to invite all paramedics to visit and complete our survey: