A man has been charged with assault after the second attack on ambulance officers in Auckland in a week.
St John duty manager Glenn Rose says the two women were attending a callout in Papatoetoe last night, where a person had collapsed on the street.
The patient allegedly attacked the two officers, who ran to their ambulance and barricaded themselves inside, calling for police help.
"He basically woke up and came out swinging," says Rose.
He says neither of the officers was seriously injured.
Last weekend, four ambulance officers were set upon while treating a heart attack victim, who later died.
In both cases, the violence was unprovoked and spontaneous, making the search for solutions all the more difficult.
"It's incidents like these that we can't predict. They're right out of the blue and all the safety precautions in the world don't seem to be making any difference at the moment," says Rose.
Ambulance staff and their union have been talking with management about ways of dealing with what they believe is increasing violence against them.
Karl Andersen, of the National Distribution Union, says measures such as self-defence training or sending security guards with the ambulance officers have been considered, but all have some practical difficulties.
"The ambulance is really designed to carry two people and the patient in the back, and I guess it would be overkill to some degree to carry a security officer around to every incident," he says.
In the meantime, staff will continue to answer callouts, but with their eyes open to the possible dangers.
"It's a bit demoralising that you're out there trying to save someone's life, and then you find you're on the end of a fist or getting a knife poked at you," says Andersen.