Zero tolerance approach needed after over 700 assaults take place in hospitals in 18 months

25 June 2018

Commenting on the publication of figures documenting the number of assaults on staff in HSE run hospitals, Labour spokesperson on Health, Alan Kelly TD has said that there needs to be a zero tolerance approach to attacks on hospital staff.

Deputy Kelly said:

“The shocking figures published showing over 742 assaults on healthcare staff in HSE run hospitals since January 2017 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.

“Last year when similar figures were published, I called on the Minister for Health to 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. Not much has been done in the way of making hospitals a safer place for frontline staff.

“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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