Union ‘concerned’ by assaults on health staff in Kilkenny

The figures published in the Kilkenny People revealed that up until June of this year there were four physical assaults on A&E staff at St Luke's Hospital.

Darren Hassett

Reporter:

Darren Hassett

Email:

darren.hassett@kilkennypeople.ie

St Luke's Hospital.

St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny where there have been 51 sick days taken by staff since 2014 due to assaults at work.

The union representing nurses and midwives have called on the HSE to “redouble their efforts” to ensure its staff are not assaulted.

Staff at St Luke’s Emergency Department were subjected to the same number of physical assaults in the first six months of this year than they were over the whole of 2015 and 2016.

The figures published last week in the Kilkenny People revealed that up until June of this year there were four physical assaults on A&E staff at the hospital.

This compares with three incidents for the whole of last year and just one physical attack in 2015 and 2014.

There have also been 165 incidents of physical assaults and verbal abuse carried out by patients towards staff since 2014.

Industrial Relations Officer for the Irish Nurses and Midwives’ Organisation, Elizabeth Curran, says assaults on nursing staff is a matter of “enormous concern”.

She said: “Figures from the HSE demonstrate that assaults on health service employees, including nurses and midwives, have increased in recent years.

“The HSE, as an employer, has a duty of care to our members to ensure that assaults are prevented, and to support our members in the event that an assault takes place.

“The INMO call on the HSE to redouble their efforts to ensure that our members are not assaulted in the course of their duties.

“Our members go to work each day to provide high-quality care to their patients, and expect that they can do so without fear of being harmed as they do their job.”

The Ireland East Hospital Group – of which St Luke's is part of – could not provide the full information requested by the Kilkenny People as it “could not be found”.

This means the figures could not be broken down further to determine how many of the staff were nurses and front-line medical professionals.

A spokesperson said: “In so far as I could determine by checking with the hospital itself and how information is recorded and provided nationally, the specific information you are requesting could not be found.

“The health, safety and well-being of all staff and patients are of paramount importance to the management of the Ireland East Hospital Group.”