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Louise O’Reilly TD calls for investigation into assaults on health service staff and review of security measures

19 April, 2018 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Questioning the Minister for Health this morning, Sinn Féin health spokesperson Deputy Louise O’Reilly TD raised the issue of assaults on staff in the health service and pushed the Minister for Health to agree to investigate the issue and review security precautions in Emergency Departments across the State. 

Teachta O’Reilly said:  

“The situation for the front line staff in the health service has significantly deteriorated over the past number of years. 

"Conditions have worsened, hours have become longer, the environment has become characterised by high stress levels, and a particularly acute aspect is that nursing and midwifery has become an extremely high risk occupation in terms of aggression and physical assault. 

“Between the 1st of January 2011 and the 27nd of July 2016 the number of physical assaults on staff in acute hospitals increased from 673 to 3,462 – of these 65% of the injured parties are recorded as nursing and midwifery staff, not including psychiatric nurses. 

“This equates to an average figure of 34 physical assaults on nurses and midwives in our hospitals every month. 

"When you add in that the profession is 91% female it further reinforces this shocking state of affairs. 

“There needs to be greater levels of security and protection for nurses and others in the health service. 

"Adequate provision of security, especially during night shifts would go some way towards helping reduce the number of assaults against nurses.

“There is no doubt that this state of affairs contributes to problems in recruiting and retaining staff in the health service and this is borne out in the numbers. 

"The 2016 turnover rate recorded in the Health Sector Staff Turnover Estimate for Staff Nurses and Midwives was 7.9% and there is also an ongoing crisis in recruitment and retention.

 “Therefore, I am glad that the Minister has agreed to my call for this situation to be investigated and has committed to me that he will engage with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and the HSE to ensure that there are security staff in all Emergency Departments and to provide a report on the issue."

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