Paramedics assaulted after mask requests

An ambulance outside the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport

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Crews have asked some people showing potential symptoms to wear surgical masks

Paramedics have been assaulted after asking patients to wear masks to protect them from coronavirus, the ambulance service has said.

Crews have asked some people showing potential symptoms to wear surgical masks, according to the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (Wast).

But it reported a “growing number” of patients had become aggressive when asked to wear the equipment.

A “small number” of staff had been victims of assault, it added.

Crews are attending all incidents wearing personal protective equipment and may also ask patients to wear the masks, said Claire Roche, Wast’s executive director of quality and nursing.

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The ambulance service’s Clair Roche said some paramedics had been assaulted

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

“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.”

Ms Roche added: “Assaulting our staff is never acceptable, no matter the circumstances.”

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