Ambos want tougher sentences for attackers

NORTHERN NSW paramedics facing the nightly threat of being bashed, spat on and abused by drug-addled and drunken miscreants have demanded tougher sentencing.

NSW Health Service Union has called for the State to adopt Queensland's 14-year maximum sentences for assaults on health workers.

HSU state secretary Gerard Hayes was a paramedic in Kempsey for more than 10 years and experienced the irrational violence first-hand.

"The risk of assault on the job was always there. We had people who were injured, but also found ourselves in very serious situations from pub brawls to sieges," Mr Hayes said.

"It's already a daunting task, but you're trying to render assistance and then find out you're going to need it for yourself."

Mr Hayes said the Christmas and Schoolies period always resulted in upsurges in health worker assaults for paramedics and for security officers and nurses working in emergency rooms.

He said Lismore, Ballina and Grafton hospitals were not immune from the attacks.

"Byron Bay and Tweed are hot spots but you will see it in any emergency department, in this day and age," he said.



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