Biting most common assault on paramedics

TWO Gladstone paramedics found themselves in violent situations that ended in assaults while on the job in the past financial year.

In the previous year one assault on a Gladstone paramedic was recorded.

>> Five attacks on hospital staff are five too many

But in the wider Central Queensland region, 17 assaults on paramedics were recorded in the past financial year, up from 11 the year before.

Queensland Ambulance Service Superintendent Sean Mutchmor said biting was the most common assault on paramedics.

It may seem more harmless than being punched or kicked but he said it was more frightening, especially when it drew blood.

When this happened, Mr Mutchmor said it forced the paramedic to undergo medical tests to ensure they had not contracted anything.

"Unfortunately many of our paramedics have to face that," he said.

"We're just trying to stop you from dying; we're the good guys."

Mr Mutchmor was pleased Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg recently announced people who assaulted health workers would face up to 14 years in jail under new state laws, which doubled the previous penalty.

Mr Mutchmor was not sure if the law changes would deter people from assaulting paramedics, especially those who were intoxicated or drug-affected.

But he did hope it would encourage bystanders to stand up for paramedics if they saw an assault unfolding.

"If it does anything it should be bringing awareness to that issue," Mr Mutchmor said.

"People don't understand paramedics face that side of things."