STAFF REQUIRED: The NSW Government is being asked to increase paramedic numbers by 500 as a safety issue.
STAFF REQUIRED: The NSW Government is being asked to increase paramedic numbers by 500 as a safety issue. Trevor Veale

Paramedics call for safety action in wake of assaults

PARAMEDICS say they are concerned about the lack of support when sent on their own to assist sick and injured patients.

NSW Australian Paramedics Association (APA) president Chris Kastelan said there were too many instances where paramedics were placed in dangerous situations when sent to jobs on their own and called on Health Minister Brad Hazzard to address the issue.

"Paramedics work in a challenging and dynamic environment and too often are unfortunately caught up in a situation where they are assaulted,” he said.

"The problem is the lack of resources.

"There simply are not enough paramedics to handle all the calls for help from the public and need at least 500 extra to be recruited to handle the workload.

"We are extremely disappointed with the response of the NSW Government to the Parliamentary report into violence against emergency services workers.”

"It's simply not good enough for paramedics to respond alone when they should be responding as part of a two-person team.”

Coffs Harbour paramedics have reported their share of incidents of patient abuse with one 2015 incident near Fitzroy Oval going viral on social media.   

APA secretary Steve Pearce said patient safety was being compromised when only a single paramedic responded because for some patients, effective treatment was best delivered by a team.

"All paramedics who respond alone are just mopping up emergencies that NSW Ambulance does not have capacity to cover with a team of two,” he said.

"Assaults are increasing and that is unacceptable.

"This is an issue of safety and while paramedics will go to extraordinary lengths to save lives they can't perform their jobs if they are being intimidated or assaulted.

"We are calling on the NSW Government to increase the numbers of paramedics in the system and improve safety standards for our members.”

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