A recent Freedom of Information Request has revealed that there have been more than 3,000 reported incidents of verbal and physical assault on healthcare workers so far this year.
There was a 5% increase in the number of physical assaults in 2018 and so far in 2019 there have been 2,345 reported incidents in which healthcare workers have been physically assaulted.
The Freedom of Information Request revealed that in 2019 there have been 279 reported incidents of assault on HSE employees, with 249 of these being on nurses.
HSE employees who are absent from work as a result of a serious injury may be entitled to payment under the Serious Physical Assault Scheme. According to details released under the Freedom of Information Act, almost 200 HSE staff have received payment under this Scheme since January 2018.
Éamonn Donnelly of Fórsa commented that: “These are vital health service workers providing care and support in an environment that must remain as safe as possible” and that the “number of staff experiencing assault and injury at work is unacceptably high.” Fórsa is the largest public sector trade union in Ireland, representing over 30,000 healthcare professionals.
In response to these figures the HSE said in a statement that: “There is an emphasis on training and equipping the workforce effectively with skills on risk identification and the management of violence and aggression.”
Ronan Hynes, Partner at Sellors, commented, “Unfortunately, these figures show a worrying trend of frontline healthcare workers being exposed to assaults and unnecessary risks in the workplace. The feedback from our clients is that adequate resourcing can sometimes be an issue but also proper training and instruction for employees. In addition, proper assessment of the risks posed to healthcare staff which include care assistants, nurses, security staff and other employees is also a critical factor.”
Should you require more information, please contact Ronan Hynes, on 061 432 348 or by email at [email protected]