Thousands of assaults on doctors and nurses reported in the past few years
The number has increased.
Frontline staff in Ireland working in one of the biggest hospital groups have made 3,500 assault reports over the last seven years.
According to Independent.ie, nurses and doctors in the Ireland East Hospital Group, who are responsible for 11 hospitals in Ireland, received thousands of verbal and physical attacks.
The number of assaults declined across most hospital groups when the pandemic first started, when it came to the Ireland East group, they recorded their highest number of assault reports in 2020 with 596 reported among nurses and 36 among doctors.
There are been 3,468 reported attacks on nurses and 116 on doctors since 2015.
These assaults include physical, verbal or sexual attacks on staff, with the incidents being categorised into harmful, not harmful, near misses, dangerous occurrences or complaints.
Figures from the HSE's national incident management scheme show that staff working in acute hospitals and community healthcare reported assaults occurring 34,602 times between 2015 and 2021.
Hospitals in the east and community healthcare services in the west were the ones to report the highest number of assaults.
Those working in community healthcare organisations in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon made 3,409 assault reports, with 3,357 of those on nurses and 52 on doctors.
The Ireland East Hospital Group consists of seven Dublin hospitals, St Luke’s in Kilkenny, Wexford General Hospital, Our Lady’s Hospital in Meath and the Midlands Regional Hospital.
The HSE said it “continues to encourage the reporting of all incidents, regardless of the level of harm, if any”.
“When considering the figures in the report, it should be noted that staff are encouraged to report all ‘near misses’ and incidents – even those that do not result in harm,” the HSE told Independent.ie.
“Hence, the number of incident reports should not be considered as indicative of a level of harm. There may also be multiple reports relating to the same incident.”
The Dublin Midlands Hospital Group made 2,371 assault reports, the South West Hospital Group recorded 1,766 and the RCSI Hospital Group 1,143, with Saolta University Health Care Group recording 862 and University of Limerick hospitals reported 635.
Staff in Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan, Sligo and Leitrim made 3,105 assault reports, nurses and doctors in Dublin north, Dublin north-west and the north inner city made 2,664 assault reports.
There were more than 2,600 reports made in Cork, Kerry, Laois, Longford, Offaly, Westmeath, Louth and Meath.