Acid attacks: Health bosses issue emergency advice on how to help victims | UK | News
After a surge in assaults with corrosive substances, the guidance aims cut down the number of devastating, life-changing injuries.
It is based on a new set of three Rs – Report, Remove, Rinse.
And action in the first few minutes after an attack is vital, it says.
Victims and witnesses should dial 999, remove contaminated clothing and rinse skin with running water.
The emergency advice was drawn up by the NHS and the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons.
David Ward, the association’s president, said: “Surgeons specialising in burns and trauma have seen first-hand the devastating impact on patients admitted to A&E after vicious corrosive substance attacks.
“They cause severe pain, scarring which can be life-long, and can damage the sight, sometimes leading to blindness.
“Unfortunately, these vindictive attacks are on the increase.
“The minutes after an acid attack are critical for helping a victim.
“This guidance BAPRAS has published with NHS England gives the important, urgent steps a victim or witness can take to help reduce the immediate pain and damage, and long-term injuries.”
More than 400 acid or corrosive substance attacks were carried out in England and Wales in the six months up to April this year.
Figures show that London is the hot spot for corrosive substances attacks with 454 last year compared to 261 in 2015.
Patrol cars in the capital are being equipped with acid attack response kits including five litre bottles of water.
Although the figures are small compared to some other types of violent crime, victims can be condemned to a life of disability, disfigurement and mental anguish.
Professor Chris Moran, national clinical director for trauma at NHS England, said: “Whilst this type of criminal assault remains rare, the NHS is caring for an increasing number of people who have fallen victim to these cowardly attacks.
“One moment of thoughtless violence can result in serious physical pain and mental trauma, which can involve months if not years of costly and specialist NHS treatment.
“So-called acid attacks are medical emergencies and people should immediately dial 999.
“We are issuing guidance today that sets out clearly and simply how people can help themselves and others in response to attacks.
“Our guidance will outline what first steps to take in the event of an attack in those crucial minutes before professional clinical help arrives on the scene.”
Thugs who use acid as a weapon have been warned they face life sentences in response to the rise in attacks.
Criminals in possession of corrosive liquids will now face the same punishment as thugs who carry knives.