Vic ambos use new tool to boost job safety

·1-min read

Victoria's paramedics are using a new risk assessment system to help keep them safe from violent and abusive patients.

They say the Behaviours of Concern tool, developed in Norway, is a world-first for an ambulance service.

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said paramedics and first responders go through too much danger in their workplace.

"We've seen too much patient violence rained down on the heads of our paramedics," Mr Foley said.

"Our paramedics are not punching bags, they're health care professionals and we want to make sure that they are treated and respected as such.

"It (BOC) is already having positive impacts."

Paramedic Brook Summer, who has been responsible for the rollout of the tool, calls it a game changer.

He says Ambulance Victoria workers report 600 incidents of occupational violence each year.

"While physical assaults are rare, our staff regularly report spitting, verbal abuse and close calls," he said.

The BOC is a six-item checklist that assesses the level of risk during an ambulance call out.

After an initial trial of 400 paramedics last year, all of Victoria's 4800 paramedics and 1300 first responders will be trained to use the system.

Ambulance Victoria said the Alfred Hospital has adopted a similar BOC tool to help boost staff and patient safety.