A full audit of hospital security is urgently needed in light of the 34,000 plus assaults on HSE nurses and doctors which have occurred since 2015, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Over the past seven years, 33,341 assaults on nurses and 733 assaults on doctors have been recorded, according to figures released to Dublin Rathdown TD Deputy Neale Richmond.
Deputy Richmond said, “Shocking figures provided to me by the HSE show the magnitude of the problem faced by our healthcare workers. No HSE worker, be they a nurse, a porter, a Doctor or an administrator, should be assaulted in the workplace.
“Threat, danger and intimidation of those who keep us safe and healthy is unacceptable beyond words. Fear of assault should never be a barrier to those considering a career in healthcare, but looking at these figures is it any wonder we have young Irish nurses and doctors moving abroad?
“In 2019 alone, 5,358 assaults on nurses were recorded while 118 assaults against doctors occurred. That’s an average of almost 15 attacks on nurses per day.
“While this problem impacts both nurses and doctors, according to the figures, nurses are subject to a disproportionately high number of assaults.
“Over the seven-year period 2015-2021, 98% of recorded assaults were on nurses. Nurses are in almost constant contact with patients and the public, and particular consideration must be given to this by the HSE.
“In recent times, we’ve seen an increasingly concerning new trend emerge. Many of us have watched the viral videos of anti-vaxx campaigners disrupting the work of our health staff and putting lives at risk. Our nurses and doctors are working night and day in the fight against Covid-19. We cannot allow this abuse to continue.
“The HSE must complete a full and thorough audit on the security measures and response times currently in place in our hospitals and healthcare facilities.
“We also need to look at imposing stiffer sentences for anyone found guilty of assaulting a healthcare worker. The message must be loud and clear; there is zero-tolerance for abuse of our medical professionals in any form.
“Entering a hospital does not give you an excuse to abuse the very people that are there to help,” concluded Deputy Richmond.
Figures provided to Deputy Richmond by the HSE on assaults on nurses and doctors.
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