'Who's rescuing the rescuers?' Rescue vet's plea for help
BRYAN ROBINS has seen enough horrors of rescue work to last several lifetimes.
The former Regional Executive Officer for this SES region, he was a veteran of the Cowper bus crash and thousands of other emergency response situations that mean he has seen things that many would shy away from.
And what he sees now makes him angry.
"I keep seeing the stories about people bashing paramedics, and seemingly getting away with it and I think they're just getting a s--- deal," he said.
"Who's rescuing the rescuers?"
Mr Robins said he believed the community and government took nurses and paramedics for granted, and wondered why there was not more community outrage for their plight.
"These guys, they just cop it sweet. They're always out there, they rarely complain, they never strike and I think they get taken for granted," he said.
"With the bashings of the paramedics, I'm certain the number of incidents are increasing, but it seems that these events are leaking out."
Mr Robins said he thought it was a paradox, as both the nurses and paramedics were routinely regarded as the most trustworthy in the community, but very little value was placed on their wellbeeing.
"And from what I'm hearing, they've just had a gutful. A gutful of feeling threatened when they go to a job. They're not punching bags."
The answer he says is simple - a zero tolerance approach with mandatory sentencing, something Mr Robins fought for when he stood at the last election as an independent.
"I called for the mandatory sentencing of anyone who attacks emergency services, nurses, remote area nurses," he said.
And rather than receive support for the stance, Mr Robins said he was howled down, especially across social media.
"I was called a fascist, a Nazi by some people - how cold and callow a person you must be they say because these people have had hard lives.
"And I just don't care any more, because it's just increasing. I'm feeling for people who are doing the job.
"If they need mental health help, then send them there for three months. They don't all have to go to Supermax, if they're juveniles send them to Acmena for three months, but if they're hardened criminals then send them there."
Mr Robins said it was not in the nature of any emergency service to complain, and said that more people were needed on the ground.
"They're not sooks, they're very brave people. I understand the stresses these people are under normally, and it doesn't do morale any good for these guys to get kicked and punched and the magistrate says sorry there's not enough evidence," he said.
The Health Services Union has been in negotiations with the NSW Health Minister on adding at least 800 more paramedics in the upcoming state budget, something Mr Robins said would stop officers attend incidents without sufficient backup.