THOUSANDS of addresses in Scotland have been labelled too dangerous for ambulance staff to attend without police, amid warnings from the trade union that intimidation and attacks on paramedics are worse than ever.

Properties are 'red-flagged' by the Scottish Ambulance Service if staff have been the victims of attacks, threats or aggressive verbal abuse by residents during previous callouts.

It means paramedics can only go in to respond to a 999 call there if they are accompanied by a police officer.

Currently 2557 addresses in Scotland are identified as too dangerous for ambulance staff to attend without police back-up, according to postcode data obtained under freedom of information.

A third of red-flag addresses - 820 - are found in Glasgow, followed by the Edinburgh and Lothians region with 469.

Lanarkshire has 216 red-flag properties and Ayrshire has 191.

The fewest - seven - are located in the Orkney Islands and parts of Caithness and Sutherland in the north of Scotland.

It comes after a UK-wide study by GMB reported in April that violent attacks on ambulance staff had surged 34 per cent since 2012/13.

John Marr, branch secretary for the GMB's Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) group, said the number of properties deemed a risk for emergency workers was growing.

He said this was partly down to better recording of them by the ambulance service.

Mr Marr said: "There's a duty of care by the ambulance service for their members of staff and we applaud that. If they feel it's deemed unsafe, to give them their due the SAS will flag that up as an unsafe property.

"This is a growing concern. We have been saying for the past number of years that there's more and more ambulance staff getting assaulted physically and verbally year in year out, and we totally support the ambulance service and the police if any prosecutions are taken forward on behalf of our members.

"We're getting told about it day in day out by our members but unfortunately we can only support our members to an extent. It's up to the courts to start acting on this and getting it dealt with."

Annie Wells MSP, public health spokeswoman for the Scottish Conservatives, who obtained the FOI data, said the figures were shocking.

She added: “No paramedic should ever fear for their own wellbeing, especially when they are dedicating their lives to helping others.

“We clearly need to do more to keep them safe, which means tough action from the courts when those assaulting, or threatening to assault, ambulance workers are caught.”

A survey of Scottish ambulance staff by trade union Unite in 2017 found that morale was at "rock bottom", with one in four employees saying they had considered quitting due to work pressures and a quarter saying they had been bullied or harassed at work.

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Our staff should not fear for their safety when working, which is why we have introduced a range of measures to help protect them – individual addresses where staff have previously faced violence or threatening behaviour are automatically flagged to our crews, who can then request additional support, only if required.

"We keep these individual addresses under review to ensure our system is up-to-date.”