Paramedics told 'move your van' in abusive note left on ambulance

Alina Polianskaya

Paramedics have voiced their anger after a note saying "move your van" was left on their ambulance, prompting claims such cases of abuse towards medical staff were on the rise.

The letter, left on an emergency vehicle answering a call in Tunstall, Staffordshire, said: “If this van is for anyone but number 14 then you have no right to be parked here.

"I couldn’t give a s*** if the whole street collasped [sic]. Now move your van from outside my house.”

A woman has since been arrested over the note.

Katie Tudor, a member of West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) staff who shared a picture of the note on Twitter, wrote: “So upset to be sent this by one of our crews this morning! Along with this note left on their [ambulance] they received a load of verbal abuse.”

She had asked police in Staffordshire if there was anything that could be done, adding that it “was becoming a regular occurrence.”

Other paramedics and medical staff have spoken out about how common cases of poor treatment towards them were.

Karl Williams, a paramedic for WMAS said on Twitter: “This is now becoming a disgusting trend. Quite frankly a trend that isn’t very popular! When will people realise that we don’t do this on purpose to inconvenience people. I hate to see battles between us and the public but seriously this is ridiculous. Give us a break will you.”

Paramedic operational manager Mike Duggan also shared a picture of the note and said abuse was a growing issue.

He told Birmingham Live: “People seem to have no respect for the work we’re doing or the fact we’re helping someone.

“We don’t block roads for the sake of it. We are seeing more and more abuse – this was not an isolated incident.

“But these people would want our help if it was one of their relatives.

Members of the public were quick to offer their support, with many saying they would have no problem with ambulances parking outside their home.

One Twitter user, @ytfcbadger, said: “The vast majority of us will let you block our driveway for an emergency, bring out tea and biscuits if you have time, or anything else you need help for! Not everyone has lost the plot thankfully!”

Another, @wetspaniel, added: “Dear ALL Emergency Services. If and when needed please feel to block my driveway, car or anything else for that matter. If you want a brew, the kettle is always on. Need the loo? No problem. Kind Regards, Just one of the majority of folk.”

Staffordshire Police said they had made an arrest.

A police spokesman said: “We’ve arrested a Stoke-on-Trent woman after an abusive note was left on an ambulance attending a medical emergency yesterday afternoon (18 February).

“The incident happened in Tunstall at around midday after paramedics from West Midlands Ambulance Service were called to a property following a 999 call.

“A 26-year-old woman from the Tunstall area was arrested on suspicion of a Section 4 Public Order offence.

“She remains in police custody and enquiries are ongoing.”

Chief Inspector John Owen, Commander for Stoke North Local Policing Team, said: “We will not tolerate abuse or intimidation of our emergency services. This kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable and we will take appropriate action against offenders.”

WMAS welcomed the police's "swift response" and said they would continue to work with them "to ensure the perpetrator feels the full weight of the law".

A WMAS spokeswoman said: “We have a zero-tolerance policy towards people who abuse our staff whilst trying to help patients in their hour of need. It is completely unacceptable and it must stop.

“As the vast majority of the public will appreciate, in our line of work the patient must always come first and therefore the nature of the job means we do sometimes have to park over a driveway or block a vehicle in.

"If your loved one needed an ambulance, I’m sure you’d want an ambulance to park as close to them as possible to prevent a delay in their care.

“After previous notes were left on our ambulances last year, we’ve received unimaginable support from the public for which we are immensely grateful.

"Sadly, as this ambulance crew discovered yesterday, there are unfortunately still a handful of narrow-minded individuals who consider leaving vile abusive notes acceptable.”