THE Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has called on the HSE to review all security measures in Cork to help tackle the number of assaults experienced by healthcare professionals.
It comes as figures released to Dublin-based TD Neale Richmond by the HSE showed that there were over 34,000 assaults on HSE nurses and doctors since 2015. Over the course of seven years, 733 doctors and 33,341 nurses have been assaulted, according to the figures.
INMO Industrial Relations Officer for CUH, Liam Conway said tackling overcrowding and longer wait times is “key” to tackling assaults on healthcare professionals.
“Our members are often the main point of contact between the public and the health service, and that means when patients are afraid or frustrated, nurses and midwives are often the ones they take it out on.
“No one should go into work expecting to be assaulted, but we know assaults increase where there is more overcrowding and longer wait times, so tackling those things is key to ensuring nurses and midwives are safe.
“It’s the responsibility of the employer and the Government to make sure there are enough resources in hospitals to prevent things escalating to the point where someone is assaulted in the first place, and to ensure there are supports in place for staff if it does happen,” he said.
Mr Conway called on the HSE to review all of their security measures in Cork and said that it is “simply unacceptable” that there continues to be an increase in assaults on nurses and midwives.
Deputy Richmond has also called for a full audit of hospital security, saying that it is “urgently needed”.
“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.
“Over the seven-year period 2015 to 2021, 98% of recorded assaults were on nurses.”