News

Zero Tolerance for ambulance abuse in Warwick

Valerie Horton

WITH assaults on ambulance officers making headlines - from the Gold Coast bashing of a paramedic to the assault of an officer in Stanthorpe at the weekend - the service recently launched a Zero Tolerance campaign.

The Zero Tolerance campaign by the Queensland Ambulance Service targeted social media with a clear message - there is no excuse for abuse.

Director of Media and Communications Michael Augustus said it was time people took responsibility for their actions.

"Verbal and physical abuse is not acceptable," he said.

"How can they fight for your mate's life if they are fighting for theirs?"

While statistically the Darling Downs region has fared better than others, Mr Augustus said even one assault was one too many.

"A taskforce consisting of union members, paramedics, managers and communication centre staff was established with a full report expected in April," he said. "We have been careful to capture what's happening in regional centres as well as cities."

Mr Augustus said the QAS was implementing a number of strategies, including re-training of staff, digital radios with emergency functions and process changes.

The State Government has announced a $1.35 million public awareness campaign for later this year.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said the Government was progressing key recommendations including additional training for paramedics and a mass media public awareness campaign.

"We need to get the message out that serious assaults on paramedics will not be tolerated, and are subject to significant legal penalties," Mr Dick said.

"Everyone knows a nurse, a doctor, a paramedic. They're our mothers, our brothers, our friends. This campaign will tell their stories."

On the option of arming officers with tasers and capsicum spray, Mr Augustus said all options would be considered.

"Paramedics are a caring profession but anything to protect staff is on the table for discussion with the taskforce," he said.

Topics:  abuse, attack, government, paramedics, warwick




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