Nurse-bashers need tough law

OPPOSITION health spokesman Mark McArdle yesterday called for tougher sentences for drunken louts who attack hospital emergency department staff.

The senior LNP politician hit out at inadequate protection from the courts for doctors and nurses highlighted by the case of a Rockhampton nurse who was assaulted by a patient at the city’s hospital.

Last week The Morning Bulletin revealed Rockhampton’s emergency department staff routinely dealt with about 15 violent drunks every weekend who punched, kicked, spat and vomited at those who were attempting to treat them.

A two-month sentence was far too soft, he said, as he joined a growing call for harsher punishments to deter thugs who, under the influence of drugs or drink, assaulted medics in the emergency room.

“Queensland Health staff working in hospitals had a tough enough job to do without worrying about the increasing risk of being assaulted,” Mr McArdle said.

“The sentence of two months jail handed down to Theresa Rose Williams for assaulting a nurse was far too soft, considering the maximum possible sentence for common assault is three years.

“Unfortunately assaults on doctors and nurses are far too frequent, but what is particularly concerning is the number of assaults that go unreported by staff.

“Queensland Health workers should be given full support and assistance by the department in reporting these incidents to police.”

Mr McArdle said the LNP supported calls by the Queensland Nurses Union for strict penalties for individuals who assaulted health workers.

“Intoxication is no excuse for assaulting hard-working doctors and nurses.”



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