More that 5 nurses were assaulted every day in Ireland last month.

INMO: 5 nurses assaulted every day last month

Assaults on nurses make up 60% of all hospital assaults in Ireland according to new figures released by the INMO.

The figures found that, on average, more than 5 nurses were physically, verbally or sexually assaulted every day in the month of June.

In light of this, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has called for increased security across all areas of hospital campuses.

In 2021, the Health and Safety Authority recorded 7477 inspections but only 446 inspections in health and social care settings, compared to 2865 in construction.

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha called the figures “unacceptable” and said they were unfortunately not news to her union.

“As we continually highlight overcrowding, Covid-19 care and its restrictions and poor staffing levels all add to this increasing problem. Nurses are facing the brunt of physical and verbal aggression in hospital. In some cases, our members are victims of career ending assaults. Anecdotally, we know that many nurses and midwives do not report many of the incidents that take place in our hospitals because they do not have support to do so,” she said.

Ms Ní Sheaghdha also said that the “pressure cooker environment” in which union members work in is leading to more assaults.

“This means that frontline staff are being put at risk for conditions they are not responsible for. Ensuring security is available across all areas of any hospital campus is a basic need that is not fulfilled in every hospital. We need to have 24-hour security in all areas of hospitals not just Emergency Departments,” she said.

In conclusion, Ms Ní Sheaghdha said soothing words from an employer and an acknowledgment of the scale of the problem is not enough for union members, and that inadequate safety protections only add to staff burnout.

She said: “Hospitals are not just places of care, they are workplaces. We need to know what measures are being put in place to protect a largely female work force. The employer’s remit is to provide a safe workplace. This level of reported incidence is completely unacceptable.”