Accord to cut drunken abuse

DRUNKS who abuse ambulance or hospital staff could find themselves banned from licensed premises all across the Bundaberg region.

The tough new measures have been put in place as part of the Bundaberg and Bargara Liquor Accord, after anecdotal evidence came to light about medical staff being assaulted verbally and physically by drunk patients.

Bundaberg/Bargara Liquor Accord president and RSL operations manager Geoff McIntosh said the new rules would apply to people who had been drinking at pubs and clubs if they became aggressive towards emergency services workers who were trying to help them.

“We react very strongly and take a dim view of people being assaulted while they are in the line of duty,” Mr McIntosh said.

“We want to extend the level of protection offered by the liquor accord to hospitals and ambulances, as they often bear the brunt of drunken behaviour.”

Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Health Service District executive director of medical services Tim Smart said he welcomed the new rules, as emergency services and hospital staff were in the front line when it came to alcohol-fuelled assaults.

“Abuse of staff is a consistent problem (across Bundaberg and other regions),” Dr Smart said.

“It's reached the point where we believe police need to be involved more directly, which is why we have joined the accord.”

He said Queensland health had a zero-tolerance approach to dealing with abusive patients, and the accord would help maintain a safe work environment for staff.

“We will never exclude people from treatment — but we will report every assault to police, who can pass it on to the liquor accord and the person may be banned from licensed premises,” he said.

Queensland Ambulance Service acting officer-in-charge of Bundaberg station Evan Kaddatz said there was no reason for an ambulance officer or nurse to be subjected to any kind of aggression.

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