Maximum jail sentences for people convicted of assaulting South Australian hospital staff will be increased by five years.
Penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment already apply to people guilty of assaulting emergency department staff.
Under current laws, attacks on hospital staff outside the emergency ward only attract a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.
The State Government says all health workers will be protected under the same laws with any assault in a hospital to be treated as an aggravated offence.
Health Minister John Hill says the change recognises that health workers are exposed to more violence than many other professionals and follows negotiations with health unions.
"It was clear that offences or acts of aggression against staff weren't just contained in the emergency department," he said.
"It happens on wards, it happens in corridors, it happens around hospitals.
"Certainly the nurses union had lobbied hard for that extension.
"There are incidents every day in probably all of our major hospitals where for various reasons people who have got some concerns will take it out on staff.
"It could be the nature of their medication, it could be the nature of their condition- patients with dementia can acts in ways in which normally they wouldn't have- or it could be alcohol or drugs."
Mr Hill says the Government will consider a proposal announced by Opposition backbencher Martin Hamilton-Smith in November to apply the protections to staff in all health clinics, not just hospitals.
"We're happy to consider the extension of it beyond hospitals but I'm not too sure how many places you'd want it to apply to," he said.
"The point of it is it's an aggravated offence which means it's special.
"There's always a balancing act between the extent of an aggravated penalty and the normal penalty.
"Certainly I'd want to include GP Plus and Super Clinics which are broad public health facilities but a GP surgery generally is private rooms where people come in on the basis of an appointment.
"I think it very hard to demonstrate any evidence that it's needed in those circumstances but if the evidence is there, obviously we'd want to look at it."