05 December 2016

Commenting on the publication of figures documenting the number of assaults on staff in HSE run hospitals, Labour spokesperson on Health, Alan Kelly TD said:

“The shocking figures published in today’s Irish Examiner showing nearly 3,500 assaults on healthcare staff in HSE run hospital over recent years highlights the need for a zero tolerance approach to these attacks.

“It is incumbent on the HSE and hospital management to respond to these shockingly high figures, ensure these attacks are taken seriously, and that where possible action is taken, that assaults are reported to An Garda Síochána, and criminal prosecutions taken.

“Nurses, midwives, doctors and other health staff must be able to go about their already busy work with the knowledge that any attack on them will be taken seriously and prosecuted wherever possible.

“The Minister for Health should also examine this issue with his colleagues in Government and review the relevant law to ensure it is fit for purpose and if heavier fines might be necessary to act as a deterrent.

“While assaults and attacks will always unfortunately occur, particularly in what can be a stressful and upsetting environment for patients and families, knowing that there is a zero tolerance attitude to such misbehaviour would go some way to change societal attitudes and help protect frontline staff.”

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