Assaults on north coast ambulance officers, mostly by drunk or drugged offenders, have increased this year, but across the state the numbers have trebled, according to latest figures.
Assaults occurred in Mullumbimby, Murwillumbah, Casino, Grafton and other rural towns, most of them overnight.
While there were eight incidents reported on the north coast, physical and verbal assaults on NSW paramedics have trebled, with 50 assaults so far this year, up from 16 over the same period last year.
According to the NSW Ambulance Service, most of the assaults involved members of the public who were intoxicated or drug affected.
NSW Ambulance chief executive Ray Creen said paramedics weren’t ‘punching bags’.
State health minister Jillian Skinner said any attack on a paramedic was a ‘disgraceful act’, urging paramedics to report all attacks.
‘That these dedicated paramedics should be harassed, threatened or harmed beggars belief,’ she said.
Anyone found to have committed an act of violence against a paramedic can face up to five years behind bars.