The Points of Unity are the rules by which Melbourne SMC operates. These help us to understand who we are, what we do and how we should do it.
Do no harm: We make every reasonable effort to give treatment that will not negatively affect the health or well-being of our patients. If no such treatment is available, no treatment whatsoever is given. Do No Harm also includes the Street MelbSMC medics’ own safety.
Scope of Practice: We always treat within our skill levels. We do not use supplies or perform procedures we have not been trained to use. Certifications, skill level & experience will be respected in regards to patient care. They will not translate into hierarchy of duties or division of labour.
Consent: We explicitly inform patients of our personal qualifications and limitations before any treatment is given. Further, we do not initiate any treatment until explicit and informed consent is obtained from the patient. We respect all patients’ right to refuse treatment or transport to any MelbSMC medical facility.
Confidentiality and Privacy: We make every reasonable attempt to protect the confidentiality and privacy of our patient’s situation. In the advent of Citizen Media intervention we advocate on behalf of our patients to ensure that their wishes regarding privacy are respected.
Training: MSMC will skill-share with anyone who demonstrates engagement with the Collective’s ethic and resources. We do not intend to hold monopoly over training and organisation of Street Medicine in Australia but are committed to honouring and furthering 50 years of global Street Medicine activism. Drawing upon the wisdom and experience of Street Medics overseas and elsewhere in Australia our purpose is to tailor training to the needs of protest communities across Australia.
Induction:Affinity amongst activists is crucial and our process of induction is designed to balance the need to protect the collective and create as welcoming and supportive a space for activism as possible. Our induction process involves working as a buddy in two actions and attending one group event (such as a meeting, planning or training session). Then, once two members have vouched for you, you are welcome to become part of the Melbourne Street Medic Collective.
Safer Spaces: We actively challenge the perpetuation of any form of social domination or oppression. This includes, but is not at all limited to sexism, racism, transphobia, ableism, classism, ageism, and any other institutional oppression. We cultivate an awareness of our own privilege and work to create a welcoming, safe and comfortable space for all. We endeavour to be sensitive to issues of oppression and endeavour to call out oppressive behaviour when we witness it.
Self-facilitation: We recognise being an activist and being exposed to trauma, the burn out of others and extreme situations can be difficult psychologically. We strive to create a supportive and respectful team for all. That said, it is the responsibility of every individual to stand up for their own beliefs whilst remaining opening to the opinions of others. It is everyone’s responsibility to address (through support or time out) their own burn-out and personal issues and not allow these issues to impact on meetings, actions and forum discussions.
Horizontal Organisation: We aspire to operate without institutional hierarchies of command, experience, ability or level of involvement. Every MelbSMC medic has equal power in all decisions affecting them. We acknowledge expertise in certain areas or situations may necessitate a degree of leadership; and in no way do we vilify this phenomena if once the situation terminates horizontalism is re-established.
Social Media: Any member of the collective is entitled to use the collectives’ media platforms providing all content is published in a respectful and collegial manner. We actively encourage members to publish posts on the website in relationship to current and ongoing actions provided these posts are identified as being the singular opinion of the writer and they place Street MelbSMC medicine into the context of that particular protest.
Buddy System & Debriefs: On every action we always operate in a 2 or more person Buddy System and make time for a post-action Debrief. If we are unable to perform either of these procedures then we are unable to Street MelbSMC medic for that action.
Infection Control: We use appropriate infection control techniques in caring for patients. We use disposable gloves to protects ourselves and our patient’s from bodily fluid contamination. We thoroughly wash and/or sanitise hands, surfaces, supplies and containers between procedures or when we suspect they may be contaminated. We thoroughly wash and/or sanitize our hands immediately after using the toilet, and immediately before touching any medical supplies or patients. If a MelbSMC medic suspects that they may currently host any readily transmissible disease, they do not act as a street medic until the risk of transmission is abated.
Continuity of Care: We do not leave or cease caring for any patient until a treatment is completed, except to transfer the patient’s care to Emergency Services or another MelbSMC medic of equal or greater qualification – or to provide immediate and urgent care to a different patient in dire need, when no other assistance is available.
Medical Neutrality: When we wear the green cross we will offer first aid assistance to anyone regardless. We will endeavour to assist protester, police, council worker, bystanders – anyone! The only mitigating factors being consent and personal safety.
Political Partiality: We understand that providing Street Medic support to the activist community is a political act. We discuss and vote as a group which actions we support actively, or support ideologically but not physically, or do not support at all. In planning meetings with other political groups our voting and contributions will always prioritise non-violence and health & safety above any other agendas.
Demeanour: While on duty, our interactions with patients, our political allies, other medics, and passers-by are guided by trust, respect and solidarity. These qualities are essential to our own standing in the community. Rather than telling others to do something, we ask. Patients and protesters in actions are communicated with respectfully and are spoken “to”, or “with”, not “at”. We do not gossip about or judge patients that have been in our care.
Intoxicants: We do not use intoxicating substances while on duty, and we do not tolerate the use of intoxicants or smoking in any MelbSMC medical space.
Should a Street MelbSMC medic wish to act outside the Actions Points of Unity they can remove the green cross and must let their buddy know they have stood down. Core & Process Points of Unity cannot be waived.