Tougher penalties for doctor violence

The state’s health minister David Davis has vowed to create two new offences under the Summary Offences Act, covering assaults on registered health practitioners on hospital premises and attacks in other locations where practitioners may be in the course of caring for patients, including house calls. 

Offenders will face up to six months’ jail for assaults on GPs, nurses and other practitioners, double the penalty for a common assault, Mr Davis said.

The move builds on a bill presented earlier this year to increase penalties for attacks on paramedics and emergency department staff.

“Healthcare workers should not be subject to threatening behaviour, violence and compromised safety,” he said.

The near-fatal stabbing of a senior doctor in the foyer of Melbourne’s Western Hospital as he arrived for work one morning last February was among the incidents spurring the government to take a tougher stand.