The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has welcomed moves by Government to increase the maximum penalty for assaulting nurses, midwives and other frontline workers.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:
“With over ten nurses enduring some kind of physical, verbal or sexual assault in their workplace every day, the announcement by Minister Harris today that enacting legislation to increase the sentence for assaulting frontline workers will increase is a priority is very much welcomed by our union.
“Nurses and midwives need hospital management to use the powers they have and support staff and make complaints to Gardai - a zero tolerance approach is required and that is not the case at present.
"Legislative protection by itself is not enough, the Health and Safety Authority need to play an enhanced role in tackling assaults of nurses. There must be more inspections, prosecutions of employers who fail to keep staff safe. There must be a dedicated division established within the HSA to deal directly with the health service. This is an ask the INMO has put directly to Government and the Authority itself.
“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. Over ten assaults every day is not acceptable.”