Frontline staff attacked and abused 3,563 times while treating sick and injured

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Frontline medical staff working in hospitals and in the community across the Western Trust were abused and attacked whilst trying to treat the sick and the injured over 3,000 times over the past three years, the Health Minister Michelle O’Neill has revealed.

Ms O’Neill said there’s been a long-standing policy of zero tolerance for attacks on health and social care workers but unfortunately it has been unable to deter some people from turning on those trying to help the sick.

It’s been revealed that there were 2,445 physical attacks on staff and 1,118 instances of verbal abuse over the three years from 2013/14 to 2015/16.

That’s an outrageous 3,563 attacks in total.

Releasing the figures in response to a recent Assembly Question, the Health Minister explained that the health service continued to take a zero tolerance approach to attacks on staff.

She said individual trusts also had personnel in place to deal with health and safety issues.

“Each Health and Social Care (HSC) Trust has a robust Zero Tolerance policy in place with a Senior Director responsible for ensuring staff safety and support is properly and consistently managed across the Trust,” said the Health Minister.

“This is underpinned by health and safety legislation, which places a duty on Trusts to provide a safe and secure environment for staff and others,” she added.