Driving into work one morning, our MD was listening to Nick Ferrari’s show on LBC and the topic of conversation really struck a chord. Nick was talking about the extraordinary increase in the number of assaults on frontline emergency services staff, the very people who save countless lives every day in the UK. The same NHS staff who might be on duty when you, me, family, friends or colleagues need emergency care. It’s a service that has touched all of us in different ways and it is such a fundamental part of what it means to live in Britain.
A staggering 70,555 assaults were recorded in the year up to March 2016, up from 59,744 in 2011/12. Of the assaults in 2015/16, 17,851 didn’t involve mitigating factors like mental health, medical illness, severe learning disability or response to treatment administered. And if that’s not shocking enough, just 1,740 of these assaults ultimately resulted in criminal sanctions.
Considering assault on a police officer is a criminal offence, Nick was amazed that the same rule doesn’t apply to our NHS. Across our Scottish borders, there is a specific law against members of the public assaulting medical services staff. Why on earth isn’t this something that applies in the UK? We should be protecting those who spend their lives protecting us, especially with NHS staff already under an immense amount of pressure with budget cuts, stretched resources, limited staff and longer waiting times than ever before.
So Nick decided to do something about it. He created the GEMS campaign, a petition to Guard our Emergency Medical Services. Assaults have risen to 193 per day over the last 5 years and Nick is demanding that Parliament discuss making a vital change to the law. No one should have to fear assault simply from going to work.
Our MD listened to the program, got into the office and kept thinking about how he could help make a difference. And soon enough he’s got in touch with LBC to offer some free advertising in Coffee Shops. What better way to reach the public and inspire them to sign the petition than whilst they’re having their takeaway coffee in the morning? Coffee Cups with GEMS branding have been distributed across 75 Coffee Shops in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool, putting some Tabletalk weight behind a really admirable cause. It’s incredibly exciting to be a tiny part of something that promises to truly change the lives of our valuable NHS staff across the country.
Great news too – the petition sped past the 100,000 signatures needed to force a debate in Parliament with the date set for February 27th!