Figures for attacks on local health workers are described as ‘outrageous’ by Dobson

Jo-Anne Dobson
Jo-Anne Dobson

About 8,000 health and social workers are verbally or physically assaulted every year.

Official figures from the past three years show 24,954 front-line staff in Northern Ireland’s hospitals, clinics and care centres, fire and ambulance services have dealt with attacks while at work.

Jo-Anne Dobson, Ulster Unionist MLA and the party’s health spokeswoman who secured the reports, said front-line workers are being hampered by having to protected themselves.

“I, like the vast majority of people across Northern Ireland, will be disgusted at these outrageous figures,” she said.

“Our health staff and emergency workers go to work every day to help people and earn an honest living, not to be abused and assaulted.

“There should be a zero tolerance approach taken to assaults on our health workers and I therefore hope that the people behind the almost 25,000 assaults in the last three years have received appropriate punishments.”

The data from Stormont’s Department of Health showed that firefighters suffered 135 incidents in 2013, 99 in 2014 and up to the end of November last year the number had jumped again to 123.

Ambulance staff faced 340 attacks in 2013, 356 in 2014 and 250 last year.