Over 400 assaults on nurses in Mid-Ulster

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Over 400 assaults on nurses in Mid-Ulster thumbnailSouth Tyrone Hospital, Dungannon.

A RECORD number of assaults on medical staff is taking place in hospitals throughout Mid-Ulster.

In the year ending September 2016, over 400 nurses were assaulted in Craigavon Area Hospital; Antrim Area Hospital; South Tyrone Hospital, Dungannon and the Mid-Ulster Hospital, Magherafelt.

When broken down, the figures show that 312 nurses were assaulted in Craigavon Area Hospital (which takes in the Dungannon borough). Two Doctors were also assaulted at the hospital as were 43 other health care staff.

In Antrim Area Hospital, (which takes in the Cookstown district), 103 nurses and six other health care staff were assaulted.

There were 13 nurses assaulted in the Mid-Ulster Hospital in Magherafelt.

And in the South Tyrone Hospital, Dungannon, four nurses and one other health care member were assaulted.

The shock figures were revealed by Mid-Ulster Ulster Unionist MLA Sandra Overend, who described the figures as alarming.

Mrs Overend is calling on the Executive to do more to ensure the safety of all health care professionals who do such valuable work for the public. 

Mrs Overend told the Courier yesterday: "The number of recorded assaults on our doctors, nurses, carers, and other health workers is truly shocking and reveal the unacceptable dangers that medical staff face in our hospitals, often on a daily basis.

"This deplorable behaviour occurs in all Health Trusts across Northern Ireland and staff working in hospitals local to Mid-Ulster are not exempt from this abuse.

“For example, in the year ending 30th September, 2016, Craigavon Area Hospital recorded that two doctors, 312 nurses, and 43 other health workers were assaulted.

"In Antrim Area Hospital 103 nurses and six other health workers were assaulted.

"These alarming figures may not show the full picture either, because other assaults such as tirades of verbal abuse often still go unreported."

The Mid-Ulster MLA continued: "Our medical staff already face a difficult enough task of coping with their growing volume of often incredibly difficult work, so it is deplorable that now they are also having to fear for their own personal safety, while providing health care to the public.

"The figures show that the Executive must do more to tackle the abuse and violence health professionals experience daily within the health service, which may be getting worse, rather than better."

Calling for a "zero-tolerance approach to these sorts of incidences", Mrs Overend said those found guilty of assaulting health staff should be given sentences sufficient enough to act as a deterrent to others.

"We should be full of gratitude for the service and dedication of all our health workers and emergency services and they deserve our respect and should be able to deliver care without fear of assault and abuse."  


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