Ambulance crews from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service were attacked in two separate incidents last night.
The first incident occurred in Lurgan just after midnight when a crew were attending to a patient who had been stabbed. While they were providing on scene treatment, a male opened the side door of the ambulance and removed an oxygen cylinder when he placed himself at the front of the ambulance where he made attempts to put the cylinder through he front windscreen of the ambulance causing considerable damage.
The patient who was being treated at the scene declined transport to the hospital.
This allowed the crew to return to their station and change to a spare vehicle.
The damaged vehicle will be off the road for at least a week.
(Damaged Ambulance. Photo: Courtesy NIAS)
The second incident occurred in north Belfast approximately two hours later when a member of staff was assaulted by a patient. The ambulance paramedic was not seriously injured and made himself available to respond to other calls on the shift.
If the paramedic had been seriously injured, he would have been stood down for the night, leaving parts of North Belfast and other areas exposed without adequate emergency ambulance cover.
The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service is proactive in trying to reduce attacks on its members. The NIAS has called for an end to these attacks and has said the attacks cannot be excused in any way. They added that they will continue to call for the full rigors of the law to be applied to anyone found guilty of any such attacks.