AN ambulance worker says it was “upsetting” to see people being inconsiderate towards NHS staff and the most vulnerable during an early morning shop.

Peter Scott, 55, from Clacton, has been an emergency care assistance for the East of England Ambulance Service for the past eight years.

His job sees him work long and unsociable hours, alongside paramedics who he helps provide life-saving care to patients.

Following the outbreak of coronavirus, the frontline assistant has attended a drastic increase in call outs and says each working day is becoming more stressful.

Following a lengthy night shift, Mr Scott visited the Tesco supermarket, in the Brook Retail Park, in Clacton.

The first hour of the store on a Sunday - between 9am and 10am - is being reserved for NHS workers who have been struggling to get the essentials due to their difficult shift patterns.

But, according to Mr Scott, this didn’t end up being the case, and ordinary shoppers who had queued outside were being allowed in.

“When I went inside, the reception area was heaving and then when I went down a middle aisle, it was just full-up with people,” he said,

“I have never seen anything like it before – it was meant to be just for the vulnerable and NHS staff, but everyone was still just panic buying.

“I was told in the end, they just decided to let people in because they were all queuing up outside.

“I just ended up going home in the end.”

Mr Scott has now called on supermarkets to look at ways they can better implement and police the initiative.

He has also asked shoppers to be more thoughtful of those on the frontline, who can only go shopping at certain times due to their restrictive work hours.

“It is really hard for us at the moment, we are short-staffed and under immense pressure,” he said.

“There is an element of risk in what we do, and some paramedics are having to move out of their parents’ homes, so they don’t risk infecting them

“So, people need to be more considerate and think about the NHS workers, and the elderly and vulnerable, who can’t always get their food first.”

A Tesco spokesman has said it will continue to allow NHS personnel into stores earlier on a Sunday and asked general shoppers to only visit during normal opening hours.

The company has recognised it may need to be revise its approach in order for the initiative to be a success at every store.

He said: “The priority hour is a way to support NHS workers to get access to the things they need and to say thank you for all they are doing.

“We are trying hard to do the right thing and while feedback has been positive, we also recognise that many stores were still very busy.

“We’re going to take learnings on board and continue to offer these priority shopping times to NHS workers.

“We really need customers to help us by giving NHS workers priority during this hour and so we ask all other customers to shop during the usual Sunday opening hours.”