21 May 2020
The ANMF (SA Branch) wants to remind nurses, for their own safety, to refrain from wearing uniforms in public or while travelling to and from work on public transport.
This follows reports of alleged abuse and assaults against nurses by members of the public.
In the latest incident, a nurse, wearing her blue scrubs, allegedly had a drink spat on her while walking to work down Hindley St early Tuesday morning.
Thankfully the nurse was not physically injured.
Officers arrested a 42-year-old woman, of no fixed address, after the incident was reported to police.
The woman was charged with assault on a prescribed emergency worker and taken into custody.
She appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on Tuesday afternoon and did not apply for bail.
“At all times, our dedicated nurses and midwives deserve to be valued and respected for the great work they do in caring for the community, not spat on and abused,’’ ANMF (SA Branch) CEO/Secretary Adj. Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM said.
“This is the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, celebrating and recognising the skills, care and contribution of our nurses and midwives.
“In the current environment, in which our awareness of the risk of communicable disease transmission is heightened in the wake of COVID-19, spitting on another person is particularly abhorrent,’’ Ms Dabars said.
“It is unacceptable for a nurse or midwife to be assaulted on their way to work, or at any other time. It is essential that the fullest extent of the law is applied. Deterrence is important to prevent future acts of violence against our hard working and devoted health professionals.
“We have advocated that acts of aggression against health professionals result in higher penalties.
“Also, keeping our health workforce safe and supported remains key.
“We have advocated for free parking within secure hospital car parks during the coronavirus period.
“We know the Government has gone part-way to this by offering a rebate to health workers during this period.
“We will continue to advocate for safe and accessible car parking and safe working environments, which necessarily includes safely getting to and from work.’’
South Australian Police Commissioner Grant Stevens yesterday condemned the alleged attack. "We are resolute in taking action against any incidents where emergency services workers including health workers are assaulted in this way,’’ he said.
“These types of behaviours are completely abhorrent and should not be occurring.’’
South Australia created the specific offence of assaulting an emergency worker last October, with a maximum penalty of five years in jail for the basic offence, and 15 years’ jail for intentionally causing harm.
The law has since been amended to include a presumption against bail for those charged during the COVID-19 emergency.