Almost 7,000 assaults on health staff in five years

Calls for a zero tolerance approach have been made after figures reveal almost 7,000 health care staff in the Southern Health Trust have been assaulted over the past five years.

And of those assaults 80 percent were against nursing staff, according to figures revealed by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Cllr Stephen Moutray.

Craigavon Area Hospital. INLM02-110gc

Craigavon Area Hospital. INLM02-110gc

The DUP politician has urged the Trust to take whatever measures necessary to protect staff.

Expressing concerns to Trust chiefs, Cllr Moutray said: “I find it alarming that, on average, four assaults 
took place every day and of those 80% were on nursing staff.

“If we are to have a happy workplace, staff have got to feel confident that they can carry out their duties without fear of assault or attack.

“I would call on the Trust to take whatever measures that are necessary to protect 
staff.

“It is also imperative that the courts deliver sentences that are appropriate when staff are assaulted.

“A zero tolerance approach across the board is the only way to protect those who deliver our valuable front line services.”

A spokesperson for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust said: “As an employer, we take staff safety very seriously and it is totally unacceptable that anyone providing such vital health and social care services should be subjected to any form of abuse.

“Our staff are specially trained to deal with very difficult and trying circumstances and in most cases, it can be due to illness, medication or addiction problems, that people can be more disruptive. Security porters are also available in our acute hospitals to deal with aggressive patients, bringing in the PSNI when needed.

“Any staff member or other person involved in such incidents will receive treatment from the Emergency Department, offered support from our Occupational Health Team and Inspire Counselling Service and be given our full backing if they wish to pursue through the legal process.”