Red alert: Paramedics aware of violent locations in Ballarat

PARAMEDICS are warned they may be exposed to violent situations at four Ballarat addresses, while a further eight addresses pose some form of safety risk.

At least one violent incident, where paramedics were threatened or harmed, has occurred at a Lake Wendouree address, a Redan address, a Wendouree address and a Delacombe address. This data was released by Ambulance Victoria.

Paramedics in some cases will require a police escort to attend these addresses, for safety reasons. 

Health minister Jill Hennessy pledged support to paramedics saying violent patients should be refused treatment if necessary. 

In the wake of these reports the Ambulance Employees Association has called for people, not addresses, to be red flagged to ensure paramedics are not exposed to people who have previously been violent towards them purely because they had moved address.

Association secretary Steve McGhie said paramedics were increasingly at risk because they were responding to violent and volatile patients under the influence of drugs. 

“There are more aggressive and violent patients, (related to the rise in) drug, alcohol and mental health issues,” Mr McGhie said.

“We see aggression directed at paramedics … and it is not necessarily the patient, it might be a relative who is frustrated for a number of different reasons.

Mr McGhie said paramedics needed to be provided with more information so they were fully aware of the situation they were entering. 

​Addresses in Golden Point, Redan, Soldiers Hill, Black Hill,  Ballarat East, Mount Clear, Wendouree and Sebastopol have been flagged as a posing some kind of safety risk, which can range from a potentially aggressive patient with mental health issues to a steep block. 

Ambulance Victoria has pledged its commitment to the safety of its paramedics, maintaining it does not tolerate any violence.  

Ambulance Victoria Acting General Manager Emergency Operations Mick Stephenson said 816 aggressive incidences had been recorded in Victoria. 

“No paramedic is expected to enter a scene where violence is likely or expected,” Mr Stephenson said.

“We are continually reviewing our systems to provide the safest possible work environment for paramedics.

Ambulance Victoria is working with Victoria Police to increase information sharing so it can better identify danger spots, including where people may be violent, have a mental health issue, use drugs or own a firearm.