The general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has called for better security in hospitals because of an increase in assaults and verbal abuse.
Phil Ní Sheaghdha said a recent incident in Letterkenny Hospital where a patient was encouraged to leave despite being very ill with Covid-19 highlighted the issues being faced by healthcare workers.
The patient, Joe McCarron (67) from Dungloe, left Letterkenny hospital when encouraged to do so by anti-vaccine campaigners. Staff tried to persuade him not to leave.
Mr McCarron was readmitted to the hospital a day later and put on a ventilator. He subsequently died without regaining consciousness.
Nurses and healthcare staff were “busy enough” and did not need to be dealing with people trying to influence vulnerable patients, Ms Ní Sheaghdha said.
Security needed to be reviewed in all settings, she added.
Vaccine hesitancy was not an issue among her members, added Ms Ní Sheaghdha. There were anti-vaccination groups trying “to get inroads in some areas.”
The incidents of assault and verbal abuse had increased which added pressure for staff who were already coping with two different strands of care — Covid and non Covid — and there were real concerns about reduced numbers of staff.