NSW paramedics to get body cameras

Jodie Stephens

NSW paramedics will begin wearing body cameras as part of a 12-month trial aimed at deterring abuse and assaults.

Paramedics from Liverpool, Sydney Ambulance Centre at Eveleigh and Hamilton in Newcastle will participate in the voluntary trial involving 60 cameras.

NSW Ambulance chief executive Dominic Morgan said more cameras could be rolled out across the state if the program is successful, but the union representing the state's paramedics says it has several concerns, including that the trial may interfere with patient care.

"The cameras will be another set of eyes for our paramedics and in addition to hopefully deterring abuse, there is scope to use them for training purposes further down the line," Dr Morgan said in a statement on Wednesday.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard hopes agitated individuals will modify their behaviour when they realise they're being recorded.

"Paramedics are there to help us and it is never OK to abuse them. Assaults carry heavy penalties and, if needed, bodycam footage will be used as evidence when prosecuting people," Mr Hazzard said.

Paramedics will be fitted with the cameras from Thursday.

But the NSW branch of the Australian Paramedics Association have expressed their opposition to the move, accusing NSW Ambulance of failing to properly consult with paramedics or the union ahead of the trial.

Association Secretary Gary Wilson in a statement described the trial as a "box-ticking exercise and photo opportunity".

"There are a range of significant issues that have not been addressed by NSW Ambulance, including paramedic safety, privacy and trial evaluation," he said.

Mr Wilson said the association was not convinced cameras would reduce violence and concerned patients would be reluctant to trust paramedics wearing the devices, potentially interfering with care.