Ambulance Service of New South Wales
  1. Home
  2. Community Info
  3. Zero tolerance
Print this page Reduce font size Increase font size

Zero tolerance

Christmas and New Year is traditionally a time when people wind down and relax with their friends and family. For our paramedics and frontline staff, however, it's one of the busiest seasons of the year, and due to the increased incidence of alcohol and drugs in the community, it can also be a potentially risky time for our staff who are often faced with dangerous situations whilst assisting the public.

A/Chief Executive Mike Willis said the Ambulance Service of NSW (Ambulance) advocates a zero tolerance policy to violence against our staff, and there is no excuse for abuse against paramedics who are providing life saving treatment to the community.

Violence is not only physical violence against paramedics, but also verbal abuse, and in fact, any obstruction that hinders paramedics from carrying out their duties.

Ambulance will not tolerate any incidence of violence or aggression against paramedics as they go about their life saving duties.

In June last year, the NSW Government introduced changes to the Health Services Act 1997 giving greater protection for paramedics. The amendments created offences of intentionally obstructing or hindering a paramedic who is in the course of providing ambulance services to a person or by way of an act of violence, with a maximum penalty of imprisonment of five years.

Paramedics are not only responsible for treating their patients, but they also need to make sure the environment in which they find themselves is safe for the patient and for any bystanders.

Ambulance is asking the community to follow the advice and comply with the instructions of paramedics at any scene. Your support of our paramedics as they go about their business is crucial.

Ambulance has developed procedures for paramedics to follow on the occasions where they are in danger, and are trained to diffuse serious incidents to minimise risk. Every incident of violence or aggression is reported to the NSW Police and individuals who cause harm to our hardworking frontline paramedics will be pursued with the full force of the law.