Keeps Your Hands Off Our Ambos!

Keep your hands off our ambos! poster

I can’t fight for your mate’s life if I’m fighting for mine

Our salaried paramedics and volunteer ambulance officers are the ‘front line’ of health care in Tasmania. Every call they attend places them in unknown and sometimes dangerous situations.

While an ambo’s primary role is to look after their patient, too often they also have to content with abusive, aggressive and sometime violent bystanders and family members whose challenging behaviours are fueled by anxiety, bravado or intoxication.

Do people really act aggressively or violently towards ambos?

Yes, paramedics and volunteer ambulance officers frequently face:

  • being spat on
  • verbal abuse
  • threats of violence
  • aggressive behaviour (sometimes with a weapon)
  • physical assault (including kicks, bites and punches).

We know aggressive and violent behaviour towards our staff is on the increase, as it is in mainland states. We also know a significant amount of challenging behaviour is encountered at licensed venues like pubs and clubs and is the result of drug or alcohol intoxication. Challenging behaviour for our ambos also commonly occurs in the home as a result of pre-loading alcohol intoxication.

What is the impact on our ambos?

Everyone deserves to be safe at work and a serious injury can have devastating effects … not just for the injured worker but also for their colleagues, family and friends. Even when workplace injuries are only temporary, the loss of confidence may affect the worker long after the physical symptoms have healed.

Even ‘less serious’ challenging behaviours, such as verbal abuse and threats of violence, can have a cumulative effect. Innuendo, derogatory or offensive remarks, insults, overt displays of aggression, and threats of violence frequently go unreported or are simply tolerated as ‘part of the job’.  Over time, these  ‘less serious’ incidents contribute to workplace stress, low morale and diminished self-worth.

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