FF Call For Minimum Sentences For Convictions For Assaulting Hospital Staff

Fianna Fáil have called for minimum sentences for anyone convicted of assaulting hospital staff and frontline emergency workers.

Spokesperson on Health, Stephen Donnelly, made the call as the HSE confirmed that there were at least 1,000 assaults on hospital staff last year – a figure that the INMO says is just the tip of the iceberg.

Deputy Donnelly said: "Three quarters of the assaults reported to the HSE last year were attacks on nurses. Anyone who attacks a nurse, or any medical professional, in the course of their work should feel the full rigour of the law.

"It is extremely concerning that last years figures represent an increase on the previous year. This is another symptom of an overburdened, overcrowded and understaffed hospital system. Nurses are under a level of pressure that has never been seen before in our hospitals. Their roles now involve risks that go far beyond the call of duty.

"Ambulance workers, fire fighters and gardaí are also at high risk of attack. We need tougher legislation to protect our frontline emergency and hospital staff against attacks in the course of their work. These are the very people who make considerable personal sacrifices every day to serve others.

"I am calling for minimum sentences for attacks on hospital and emergency staff. Fianna Fáil published a Bill in 2012 that would ensure that anyone convicted of assaulting or threatening to kill such workers in the line of duty would serve at least five years in prison. Higher protections for frontline hospital and emergency workers remains a priority for Fianna Fáil."


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