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Friday, September 22, 2023

Almost 850 assaults on nurses in first quarter of 2023 — INMO

Almost two thirds of assaults reported to the HSE in the first three months of the year were carried out against nurses, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has said.

The latest figures show 848 nurses and midwives were assaulted in January to March, representing over 62 per cent of assault incidents reported to the HSE in that timeframe.

INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha described the findings as “completely unacceptable”, adding: “No other profession sees this level of abuse levelled at them”.

“The continued acceptance of intolerable hospital overcrowding is creating an environment in our hospitals that is allowing physical, verbal and sexual assault against our members to manifest,” she added.

The figures come as the Government confirmed it will increase the maximum penalty for assaults on gardaí and emergency service workers, including nurses. The plans will see maximum sentences for such offences increase from seven to 12 years.

However, Ms Ní Sheaghdha said the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) must also be equipped to tackle assaults in healthcare settings, calling for the establishment of a dedicated division to deal directly with the health service.

“Assault prevention and de-escalation measures must be strengthened. It must be made clear that once you step foot in a hospital that there is zero tolerance for any kind of verbal, physical or sexual assault.

“Hospitals are workplaces, as well as places of care. No worker should have to put up with this level of abuse in the workplace,” Ms Ní Sheaghdha added.

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