STEFAN Cartwright received the ‘Outstanding Achievement’ at last year’s South Wales Argus Health & Care Awards. SUE BRADLEY discovers how his work continues. Ambulance workers are often the difference between life and death for people suffering serious illness or injury. Yet increasing numbers of these dedicated men and women are finding themselves the victims of assaults. Ambulance technician Stefan Cartwright is among this number, having been attacked both in 2017 and more recently. Now he’s campaigning to raise awareness of assaults on emergency service workers. Stefan suffered his first attack in Newport in August 2017 when his ambulance came across the scene of a road accident. “We had been carrying a patient to hospital when we were flagged down,” explains the 43-year-old. “I went to check whether the driver was OK. He didn’t say a word to me but rushed over and head-butted me in the face. I was flummoxed: I had gone to help this individual and this was how he thanked me.” The attack left Stefan with a black eye, swelling to his face and cuts, and affected him psychologically, yet 12 months later the man responsible convicted only for drink driving. “They played down the assault because he was intoxicated,” says Stefan, who joined the Welsh Ambulance Service 25 years ago, “but in fairness, the judge roasted him for what he did.” Stefan says the incident knocked his confidence. “Usually I like socialising, but I didn’t want to go out and became withdrawn,” he says. “I ended up having to have time off and I questioned whether I would be able to stay in the job.”

Do you know somebody who is working to make the world a better place? Nominate him or her today by visiting

More recently, Stefan was punched and verbally abused by a woman but, unlike the drink driver, she was made an example of by the courts for assaulting an emergency worker. Both experiences have led Stefan to work tirelessly to support others attacked while on duty and press for more severe punishments for offenders. “I had to do something to prevent this happening to others,” he explains. Stefan wants to establish the ‘Cartwright Principles’ – Care After Receiving Treatment Work-Related Injuries Giving Help To Others – and has been working with Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust and the public service union UNISON to further his campaign. He’s also taken part in a BBC ‘Critical Incident’ documentary, although he says this was a tough experience.


“I want this campaign to raise awareness of attacks on emergency service workers to be a national initiative,” he says. “The Welsh Ambulance Service has been getting together some training packages for Continued Professional Development days and I’m really happy that senior management is very keen to take it forward, although the pandemic has meant the initiative has been put on hold for now. Nevertheless we will be pursuing it again when everything calms down. “Winning the ‘Outstanding Achievement’ accolade at the South Wales Argus Health & Care Awards left me feeling shocked and humbled but glad that a light is being shone on the work I’m doing.”