The Prince of Wales has condemned “unacceptable” rising levels of violence and abuse frontline NHS staff are experiencing.
Heir-to-the-throne Charles visited Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London on Thursday, and personally asked to meet some of the paramedics and ambulance crew on the receiving end of the attacks.
Charles shared his shock after speaking to the NHS workers, saying: “You can’t believe it, can you?
“But now you find the situation rising – violence, attacks, verbal attacks, racial abuse and everything else.
“To me it’s unreal, unacceptable. Why attack the people who are trying to look after you?”
Earlier this month, it was announced that paramedics in England were to be fitted with body cameras in a bid to prevent thousands of attacks each year.
Even as NHS workers risked their lives to help the country during the coronavirus pandemic, they were being attacked when attending emergency call-outs.
Data from the NHS in England showed that 3,569 ambulance staff reported being assaulted in 2020/21 – a 32% rise from five years previously.
“Those attacks include kicking, punching, head-butting, biting and spitting and there have also been 31 assaults with weapons. In addition, there have been 834 incidents of verbal abuse and threats.”
A Clarence House spokesperson said: “The Prince of Wales was shocked to hear that those who have done so much for all of us in this pandemic are the victims of abuse and violence from a small minority.
“NHS frontline staff and volunteers deserve our support, thanks and respect for the important work that they do.”
Charles was meeting workers from the Chelsea & Westminster and Lewisham & Greenwich NHS trusts to thank them for their service during the Covid-19 crisis.
He was also seeing how his Prince’s Trust Health and Social Care programmes had supported them into NHS employment.