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Aussie medic: We will ‘pack up, leave’ if assaulted

The agency will also take a more aggressive approach when charging individuals who assault paramedics

By EMS1 Staff

VICTORIA, Australia — Paramedics in Australia now have a zero-tolerance policy toward on-duty assaults.

Ambulance Victoria Western Hume manager John Morris told the Shepparton News that following an increase in assault on paramedics, the agency will no longer tolerate such acts.

“The bottom line is paramedic safety comes first, they just want to go home unharmed after a day’s work and that’s our duty of care,” Morris said.

Moving forward, paramedics will “pack up and leave” if they are threatened by an individual. The agency will also take a more aggressive approach when charging individuals who assault paramedics.

“In the past some cases might have gone unreported, but not anymore with a culture of reporting encouraged,” Morris said. “Staff are given full support to prosecute offenders and if they aren’t prosecuted they will received a warning letter.”

Paramedics have also been authorized to administer a ketamine-based chemical restraint for combative patients; the drug will be available next year.

“It’s quite alarming to see people who seem to think they have the right to abuse health professionals, where they’re paramedics or in the emergency department,” Morris said.

Morris also said that paramedics call for police assistance five or six times per day.

“We have our processes and police assistance but individuals have to be accountable for their actions, otherwise they won’t receive important medical assistance,” Morris said.

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