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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 19 October, 2019
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Nearly 300 health workers have been assaulted in Irish hospitals so far this year

Of the 279 assaults, 249 were on nurses and midwives.

Image: Shutterstock/Blue Planet Studio

A TOTAL OF 279 HSE staff members have been assaulted in Irish hospitals so far this year.

The figures, released to Sinn Féin’s Louise O’Reilly, show the majority of attacks were made against nurses and midwives.

Of the 279 assaults, 249 were on nurses and midwives. The remaining number of recorded assaults broke down as follows: 

  • Security guards: 17 
  • Catering and kitchen staff: 3
  • Porters: 3
  • Psychiatric workers: 3

In 2018, 948 assault incidents were reported. In 61% of them, nurses were the victims.

The majority of attacks occurred in the hospitals in the North West Hospital Group, which includes: University Hospital Galway, Sligo Regional Hospital, Letterkenny General Hospital, Mayo Hospital, Portiuncula Hospital (Ballinasloe) and Roscommon Hospital. A total of 68 assaults have been recorded in these hospitals to date this year.

53 assaults have taken place in Ireland East Hospital Group, which includes major hospitals in Dublin like the Mater University Hospital and St Vincent’s in addition to the Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar, St Luke’s General Hospital (Kilkenny), Wexford General Hospital, Our Lady’s Hospital in Navan, St Columcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown, St Michael’s Hospital (Dun Laoghaire), Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital, Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital and the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street.

Screenshot 2019-06-26 at 16.56.14

Hospitals in the South West Hospital Group recorded 42 assaults so far in 2019, while Dublin/North East Hospital Group has recorded 39.

Dublin Midlands Group has recorded 40 assaults while the Midlands Hospital Group has noted 37.

The HSE notes that staff are urged to report any incidents or “near misses” even attacks that do not result in harm.

In its response to the figures, the HSE said it’s a priority concern to ensure that its staff is working in a “safe environment”.

“There is an emphasis on training and equipping the workforce effectively with skills on risk identification and the management of violence and aggression,” said the HSE statement, which added that training in these areas is offered through out all services.

The HSE added that it is “placing a renewed emphasis” on the management of work related aggression and violence in 2019.

Speaking about the assault figures, O’Reilly said:

Nurses play a key role in the delivery of our public health services, and for them to face such high levels of assault is completely unacceptable.
I urge the HSE to employ more security staff in emergency departments to ensure hospital employees are protected. These people are on the front line of our health service and deserve the right to be able to do their jobs without fear of facing assault.

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