‘Zero tolerance’ approach necessary to tackle assaults on nurses – INMO

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) says that a zero tolerance policy is necessary to tackle assaults against nurses and midwives.

The organisation stated more than 10 nurses experience “some kind of physical, verbal, or sexual assault in their workplace every day” in response to the Government’s decision to increase the maximum penalty for assaults on frontline workers.

INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha added: “The announcement by Minister [for Justice Simon] Harris today that enacting legislation to increase the sentence for assaulting frontline workers is a priority is very much welcomed by our union.”

She also urged hospital administration to help the employees and report assault incidents to the gardai. “A zero tolerance approach is required and that is not the case at present.”

Ms Ní Sheaghdha added the Health and Safety Authority needs to play an “enhanced role” in tackling assaults on frontline workers, with more workplace inspections and prosecutions of employers who “fail to keep staff safe”.

“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 workforce.

“The employer’s remit is to provide a safe workplace. Over 10 assaults every day is not acceptable,” Ms Ní Sheaghdha said.

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