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serious problem Shocking new figures reveal scale of assaults on HSE staff

'We have reports from nurses who are now out for long periods of time following assaults and really, it simply isn’t good enough'

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There were thousands of assaults on HSE staff last year (Stock photo)

There were thousands of assaults on HSE staff last year (Stock photo)

There were thousands of assaults on HSE staff last year (Stock photo)

Nearly half of the 7,600 assaults on HSE staff reported last year related to nurses, shocking new figures reveal.

Of the 5,800 physical, 41 sexual and nearly 1,700 verbal attacks were aimed at nurses while the rest involved a range of healthcare workers from dentists to catering staff.

Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) General Secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha told Newstalk that had secured the figures through the Freedom of Information that this is a very serious problem.

“We have reports from nurses who are now out for long periods of time following assaults and really, it simply isn’t good enough,” she said.

“We asked the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) to intervene and they have made a lot of recommendations in respect of the safety that is required in workplaces, but we need inspections of workplaces and we need a real focus by the HSE on keeping their staff safe.”

She said the INMO has sought a review of security tight across the acute hospital system.

“Many of these assaults take place while security is present, so it isn’t a deterrent unfortunately,” she said.

“We certainly need a different approach and we need the absolute focus of the employer in keeping their staff safe.”

The highest number of assaults were reported in the CHO 1 area, which includes most of the northwest and northeast.

Some 143 staff availed of the HSE Serious Physical Assault Scheme last year, which entitles workers to six months paid leave after an assault.

The HSE says it is committed to creating a safe environment for its staff, who can avail of training on managing violence and aggression.

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