Oct 3rd, 2017
Emergency Workers: New campaign?
By Becca McCarthy
There’s a dark side to being a paramedic. Imagine getting spat at, bitten, or punched by someone you’re trying to help. Imagine feeling scared of getting hurt while you’re trying to do your job. Attacks on emergency workers are rising.
Together, we could make life safer for emergency workers. MPs are about to vote on a new law to crack down on these attacks. It would send a clear signal to paramedics, doctors and nurses: you make us safe, so we’ll make sure you’re safe too.
If the new law is going to pass, it needs MPs to turn up and vote. And that’s much more likely to happen if 38 Degrees gets behind it. 38 Degrees’ campaigns are chosen by all of us – so right now we need to decide whether this is one for us.
Should we throw our weight behind keeping paramedics, doctors and nurses safe? Please use the button to vote – it takes less than a minute:
This new law is being proposed as a “Private Members’ Bill”. It’s a parliamentary procedure which allows ordinary backbench MPs to propose new laws, independent of the government’s plans. That means that it’s left up to each individual MP to decide whether or not to support it. So far, lots of Labour and Conservative MPs have said they’ll back this new law – but not enough to get it passed yet. That’s where we could come in.
Here’s what the MP who’s pushing forward the new law has to say:
“I’m proposing this new law because emergency workers deserve better protection. An attack on them is an attack on us all. But it will only pass if enough MPs turn up and vote for it. When 38 Degrees members get behind a campaign, MPs across parliament sit up and take notice. I hope 38 Degrees members back this campaign because it will really boost our chances of success.” – Chris Bryant, MP for Rhondda
PS: You might be thinking that it’s a crime to attack anybody, whether it’s you or a paramedic. That’s true, but attacks on emergency workers are still increasing:
“I have seen staff in tears, visibly frightened, at their wits end with the insults, with some staff giving up working in hospitals.” – Elizabeth, 38 Degrees member and nurse from Shipley
Expert bodies including the British Medical Association say a new law, making it a specific offence to attack emergency workers could help protect Elizabeth, and all other emergency workers. For example, a specific law against attacking emergency workers would mean hospitals could put up posters warning of tougher penalties for assaults on their staff. When this was trialled in Scotland, attacks went down.