TASMANIAN Ambulance Service officers say they are increasingly faced with hostile and unco- operative bystanders.
They have also told of a culture change that meant there was a greater chance of them being caught in the middle of violence.
Launceston intensive care paramedic Nick Chapman said it was not uncommon to attend an incident where bystanders became obstructive or for them to order paramedics around.
"They try to tell us what to do - suddenly they become the experts," he said.
"It's not every day, but it's a frequent thing that staff are confronted with."
During his 25-year career, Mr Chapman said he had noticed a change in culture and these days paramedics could get caught up in violence directed at others.
He recalled an incident where a woman was taken to hospital by ambulance and while she was being moved into the vehicle members of her family were asking her for money, which she refused to give them.
"When the doors of the ambulance shut, a block of wood was thrown at the ambulance," he said.
Mr Chapman's comments come as interstate ambulance officers reported a 60 per cent increase in assaults.
He said treating assault victims was difficult when paramedics were called by a third party.
"When someone's bashed someone up and they haven't finished the job when we turn up, we get in the way," Mr Chapman said.
Tasmanian Ambulance Service chief executive Dominic Morgan said while physical abuse of paramedics here did not occur at the same level as some other states, it was something the service took seriously.
"If there was ever a reported assault of a paramedic ... I would view that in a very serious way and I would prosecute to the full extent," he said.
Verbal abuse of paramedics, however, is a serious issue.
"Just by being difficult, just by being obnoxious, it actually leads to poor patient outcomes," Mr Morgan said.
"Being a paramedic in the field where you have limited access to medical equipment is difficult enough."
In addition to the risk to patients, abuse of any kind also affects the paramedics.
"Everybody has a right to a safe work environment and not feel threatened," Mr Morgan said.
"I know a number of paramedics who have really struggled (as a result of abuse) for a number of years."
He said events that involved large crowds or that involved alcohol or drugs were the most common places for paramedics to face hostility from bystanders.
"It can be the pub on Saturday night but it's equally likely to be someone's home at three o'clock in the morning," he said.
Mr Morgan said the ambulance service was tackling the issue of abuse in a number of ways, including ensuring paramedics knew their rights when faced with a violent situation, and keeping track of reports of abuse to help develop future policies.
A review of the Tasmanian Ambulance Service duress system is also under way.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.