Nurses to be protected after amendment to First Responders Bill

Nurses now look set to get more protection from violence at work, under a proposed new law.

This after NZ First MP Darroch Ball's "Protection for First Responders Bill", which introduces a six-month minimum sentence for assaults on first responders, will now also cover emergency department healthcare workers.

The legislation already covered first responders such as paramedics, police, firefighters, and corrections officers, drew ire after failing to include nurses, midwives and other health care workers.

It follows 76 submissions made during the recent Justice Select Committee hearings, which led to consultation with the sector, Mr Ball said.

The Palmerston North-based List MP said that during the COVID-19 crisis, incidents of violence, specifically increased spitting towards emergency healthcare workers had been reported.

“It became clear that especially those nurses working in our ED wards need this protection.”

Incidents of violence and assaults were common and had been building over the past few years and were common during the Covid-19 crisis, Mr Ball said.

“This is clearly unacceptable and the legislation will give certainty and consistency of justice, consequences and a clear deterrent.”

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