Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

28 October 2015

Michael Ferguson, Minister for Health

Attacks on paramedics are totally unacceptable

The Hodgman Liberal Government is committed to protecting our frontline ambulance officers and paramedics as they strive to treat Tasmanians in emergency situations.

We need to get the message through that threatening or assaulting a paramedic is completely and utterly unacceptable and risks both the paramedic’s wellbeing as well as that of the patient they are trying to treat.

Unfortunately another alleged assault on a paramedic has occurred just two weeks after I spoke about this appalling issue in the House of Assembly.

The crew utilised their new duress alarm and the matter is now with Tasmania Police and thankfully, I am advised that the paramedic in question did not suffer significant injury.

Paramedics are there to save lives and these attacks should never happen – enough is enough.

People need to understand that if a paramedic is attending to a patient they are doing their best to help and they cannot effectively do that if they are worried about their own safety or are trying to defend themselves.

Ambulance Tasmania has this year purchased additional portable radios to expand the availability to have more than one portable radio per crew.

Tasmania Police has also developed an additional extended program in occupational violence prevention for paramedics that includes further training in ``break-away techniques’’. That training will now be part of mandatory continuing professional development for paramedics.

As I said two weeks ago, the Tasmanian Government is about to start a one-year review of minimum mandatory sentencing legislation for assaults on police officers and we will look to extend those provisions to other emergency services workers, including paramedics.

Importantly, I have also asked Ambulance Tasmania to investigate measures to drive home the message that any person assaulting a paramedic is risking both the paramedic’s wellbeing as well as that of the patient, including the option of a public awareness campaign.

People must understand the ramifications of their actions. Ambulance Tasmania,  and its staff, will not tolerate such incidents and neither will the Tasmanian Government.

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