EXCLUSIVE: THE Department of Health has confirmed that Toowoomba Hospital staff are being kicked, punched, bitten, verbally abused and spat at on the job.  

The Chronicle can reveal that our medical professionals dealt with three times the amount of violence in the line of duty in the last 10 months than they did the year prior.  

From July 2017 to May 2018 hospital staff experienced 186 violent incidents, in the financial year before that they only faced 55.  

One senior official within the Department of Health claimed the ice epidemic sweeping south west Queensland was a factor for the majority of those attacks on doctors and nurses at the city's flagship hospital.

It can also be revealed that the significant spike in assaults prompted the State Government to roll out body-worn cameras for all security officers at Toowoomba Hospital in January.  

Since then, the department said three people had been convicted of assaulting staff at the hospital.  

"Violence in the workplace is unacceptable, especially against those who dedicate their lives to helping others," Minister for Health Steven Miles said.  

"Incidents of a severe nature at Toowoomba Hospital include staff been punched, spat on, kicked, bitten, and verbally abused.

"The safety of patients and staff is paramount." 

Should there be a harsher penalty for people who assault health works?

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 Across the Darling Downs Health and Hospital Service, medical staff have dealt with a total of 386 violent incidents since last July.  

Acting Queensland secretary of the Australian Worker's Union Steve Baker told The Chronicle the increasing rate of intoxicated people presenting at the emergency department was putting members at Toowoomba Hospital in harm's way.  

"There has been an upward trend of people turning up intoxicated and under the influence of drugs and going on to commit violence and it's putting workers at risk," he said.  

"Our local organiser has been working close with Toowoomba Hospital on this and has been advocating hard to protect workers there."  

The State Government said all front-line Toowoomba Hospital staff received training to deal with violence, and that Queensland Health would continue to liaise with police to ensure all staff were protected moving forward.

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