A SALISBURY paramedic has opened up about assaults on emergency services staff, and said someone spat in his face while he worked just last week.

Roland Revell, who recently celebrated 40 years of service with South Western Ambulance Service, says he definitely feels abuse towards emergency services staff is getting worse.

It comes after emergency services from across the south west launched a new campaign to highlight the unacceptable trend in the number of assaults on staff on duty.

Roland said: "We [the paramedics and the police] were dealing with a road traffic collision, and someone had got out of their car and ran off.

"We managed to get to the patient, get him into the ambulance, but he was a little bit aggressive and he had been handcuffed because he tried to run away.

"He seemed to calm down once in the ambulance, and then when I was taking his blood pressure, he turned towards me and spat in my face, for no apparent reason whatsoever

"This wasn't an accident either, he knew exactly what he was doing."

Roland then had to wait for blood tests to make sure he had not contracted any disease from the saliva, an additional stress for him and his family.

"Thankfully it was all clear, but we could've ended up with anything, and it was days of stress for us and our families and that we didn't need," he said.

Roland has experienced two incidents of abuse in 40 years, but thinks the problem is getting worse.

He said: "I think it is happening more and more.

"Some of it is about people's attitude, some of it must be to do with the amount of calls we are accepting, which is always on the rise.

"People are having to wait longer for us to reach them, and by the time we get to calls, if it’s taken 3 or 4 hours, people are very frustrated."

Over the last 12 months South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust (SWASFT) staff reported 1,049 incidents relating to violence and aggression with an increase of 97 reports for the same period in 2016/17.

"99.9 per cent of people are very understanding, but others need to realise there are other avenues they can explore in the event of a medical issue, such as the 111 service and the walk in service", said Roland.

"I also think assaults on emergency services staff needs to be taken more seriously, and the punishments should be in line with assaults on police staff".