More than 6,000 assaults on staff in Irish health service last year

There were more than 6,000 assaults on staff in the Irish health service last year.

They include 46 sexual attacks against HSE workers.

These new figures have been released under the Freedom of Information Act.

They show that, in 2019, there were 6,057 reports of physical, sexual and verbal assaults against HSE staff.

61% of them related to nursing staff.

There were more than 4,600 physical attacks and 46 sexual ones.

The highest number were in the HSE region that includes Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan.

Sinn Féin's health spokesperson, Louise O'Reilly, says the level of assaults last year is a disgrace.

“The figures are very shocking,” she said.

“They are high and they are entirely unacceptable.

“Sinn Féin has now for a number of years been calling for dedicated security to be in our accident and emergency departments on a 24 hour, seven day a week basis, to ensure the health and safety of the staff working in our ED departments.”

The total number of assaults is down marginally from 6,265 the year before.

The HSE says the safety of staff is a priority, and training in the management of violence and aggression is available in all services.

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