A zero tolerance approach is needed in order to tackle assaults on nurses and midwives according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).
Responding to the Government’s move to increase maximum penalties for assaults on frontline workers, the group said over 10 nurses experience “some kind of physical, verbal or sexual assault in their workplace every day”.
INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha added: “The announcement by Minister [for Justice Simon] Harris today that enacting legislation to increase the sentence for assaulting frontline workers is a priority is very much welcomed by our union.”
She also called on hospital management’s to support staff and make complaints of incidents of assault to gardaí. “A zero tolerance approach is required and that is not the case at present.”
Ms Ní Sheaghdha added the Health and Safety Authority needs to play an “enhanced role” in tackling assaults on frontline workers, with more workplace inspections and prosecutions of employers who “fail to keep staff safe”.
“Hospitals are not just places of care, they are workplaces. We need to know what measures are being put in place to protect a largely female workforce.
“The employer’s remit is to provide a safe workplace. Over 10 assaults every day is not acceptable,” Ms Ní Sheaghdha said.