RESPECT: Warwick Ambulance  officer in charge Neil McLachlan and his team are there to care for people in need.
RESPECT: Warwick Ambulance officer in charge Neil McLachlan and his team are there to care for people in need. Jonno Colfs

No tolerance for violence against paramedics

DESPITE a zero tolerance for violence against paramedics and mandatory jail sentencing for anyone using violence to impede emergency services personnel in the line of duty, the nation was outraged this week as two Victorian women were set free after they bashed a paramedic in 2016.

According to Safework Australia data collated earlier this year, violence against paramedics has shown an alarming increase, doubling from six to 12 cases per million ambulance calls worked and the number of cases has increased from five to 40 per year.

Queensland Ambulance Service Warwick station officer-in-charge Neil McLachlan said the service was serious about its zero tolerance policy to violence against paramedics.

"Thankfully Queensland is not currently experiencing the level of problems faced in other states," he said.

"Paramedics are there to care for people in need.

"They don't go to work to be punched, kicked, pushed, sworn at or spat on. It's time to join together and find ways to address this behaviour."

Mr McLachlan said there was a need to acknowledge that alcohol, drugs and a lack of respect for others was harming our community.

"While we are fighting for our own lives we can't be saving that of maybe a loved one," he said.

"I think it's important this message is shared within the community.

"Thankfully the Queensland Ambulance Services has an effective network of support in place, to ensure our officers receive ongoing counselling and care after any instance of paramedic violence, whether that be physical or non-physical."


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