Paramedics on the North Coast have endured six physical assaults so far this year.
Paramedics on the North Coast have endured six physical assaults so far this year. Rob Wright

Ambos are losing patience

IN FEBRUARY a paramedic in Grafton was punched and slapped by a patient he was attempting to treat.

The case is just one of six physical assaults targeting paramedics reported on the North Coast so far this year.

Men and women on the front line are regularly putting their own safety at risk and former paramedic Wade Walker said he believed the blue overalls, which replaced the white shirt/blue trousers paramedic uniform about three years ago, were at least partly to blame.

Mr Walker said he believed if paramedics returned to the white uniform (white being symbolic of medical help) or adopted the green uniform of Queensland paramedics, it would help them avoid becoming the targets of aggressive behaviour.

Superintendent Evan Clark, the Mid-North Coast zone manager of the NSW Ambulance Service, said it was highly unlikely the uniform was to blame for any aggression towards paramedics, pointing instead to other factors including drugs and alcohol.

"The new blue uniform in no way, shape or form resembles the police uniform so we don't think that's the cause," Supt Clark said.

"It's probably a whole range of issues, even down to something as simple as someone having a bad day for whatever reason and then just deciding to take it out on the ambos."

Supt Clark said regardless of what was causing the behaviour it had to be stamped out and paramedics who were threatened or verbally or physically assaulted on the job were strongly urged to report the incidents to police.


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