Three paramedics attacked on the job in separate incidents
QUEENSLAND Ambulance Service and United Voice, the union for ambulance officers, are asking for greater community support after three paramedics were violently attacked on the job in three different incidents in the Toowoomba area between September 28 - 30.
In one incident a paramedic suffered several fractures to his nose and required surgery after he was head-butted by an agitated patient in Highfields.
In another incident a paramedic received facial injuries after being kicked by a patient being attended to in Dalby.
In the third incident a paramedic received blows to his back and flank from the knees of an agitated patient in an ambulance also in Dalby.
Local United Voice ambulance delegate Ginny Lovelady said she was shocked by the severity of these unprovoked attacks.
"It's appalling to understand that at someone's request for assistance, one of our officers has needed emergency attention and an operation following a serious assault from a patient. Not only does that affect the officers involved, but members of their family too," she said.
"We go to work every day to keep people safe and support them through some of their most difficult times. We don't deserve to be attacked or assaulted as we go about our job.
"Working together, United Voice and QAS have developed a number of new initiatives which have included the introduction of new technology, a revised tactical de-escalation and safety program, and the introduction of chemical sedation for aggressive or violent patients.
"We are now calling on the public to help us by taking responsibility for their own actions.
"It also helps when people making the 000 call tell the operator that the person we are responding to may be struggling and there is a risk of violence."
QAS Assistant Commissioner Darling Downs LASN, Stephen Zsombok, says "enough is enough" when it comes to occupational violence.
"One assault on our paramedics is one too many, and we don't want to watch this happen ever again," he said.
"Some acts of violence require long term physical and mental recovery and can have a devastating impact on our staff and their families.
"While serious acts of physical assault are rare, actions such as verbal abuse or intimidating behaviour also adversely affect staff and happen far too often."
Mr Zsombok highlighted the importance of respecting paramedics and letting them do their job caring for the community.
"A hostile environment impedes us from completing our job efficiently and safely, so I'm urging the community to please respect our staff - there is no excuse for abuse."
QAS recently launched a "Respect Our Staff" campaign to urge communities to recognise that frontline officers are regular people who, like everyone else, require a safe environment in which to work.