Ambulance paramedics ‘punched, spat on’

NSW Ambulance has renewed calls for people not to use paramedics as punching bags after a series of assaults on ambulance crews.

Since January 1, there have been 35 reported incidents of violence against paramedics, with 10 of those cases involving drugs and/or alcohol and another seven involving mental health issues. 

A Berkeley woman will appear in court next month accused of lashing out at paramedics in an alcohol and marijuana induced rage in December last year.

A 17-year-old juvenile is also set to face Port Kembla Children’s Court on a charge of common assault against a paramedic on New Year’s Eve last year.

NSW Ambulance chief executive Ray Creen. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

NSW Ambulance chief executive Ray Creen. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

The latest incident occurred on Monday when police were called to Ryde Hospital after a paramedic was allegedly punched in the face. 

On Sunday night, paramedics were called to Howard Avenue, Dee Why, to assist a male patient. 

Police will allege that, as two of the paramedics treated the 33-year-old, he tried to punch them and threatened them. 

NSW Ambulance chief executive Ray Creen said the organisation had launched its

‘‘If you hurt a paramedic…’’ campaign last December in a bid to curb the violence, however paramedics continued to suffer from appalling acts. 

“Our paramedics are being punched, spat on, physically threatened and terrorised,” he said.

“It is unconscionable they are heading out with a view to rendering medical assistance and ending up requiring treatment themselves.

“Such harm ranges from physical injury to emotional and psychological impact which sometimes prevents a paramedic from returning to the road. 

“It is sad indictment on society when a paramedic becomes increasingly vulnerable to attack and it is a situation NSW Ambulance will not tolerate.”