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Almost 2000 incidents of physical and verbal abuse at health staff last year

Staff in Southern Health Trust run premises, including hospitals, clinics and care facilities, are highlighting a zero tolerance approach to abuse by members of the public.

With 1,911 cases of physical, verbal abuse and disruption to staff reported last year, the Trust is appealing to the public to show their support to health and social care workers.

Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development for the Southern Trust, Kieran Donaghy says: “We have around 13,000 staff working 24 hours a day within our hospitals and across community services. It is totally unacceptable that anyone providing such vital health and social care services should be subjected to abuse or fear.

“As an employer we take staff safety very seriously and have adopted a Zero Tolerance Policy against abuse to staff and others. Staff are trained in how to manage violent situations and hospitals have security porters available to deal with aggressive patients, bringing in the PSNI when needed.

“We also do everything we can to make our facilities as safe as possible by continually investing in CCTV, lighting, personal protection alarms and other security measures.

“Any staff member or other person involved in such incidents will receive immediate treatment from the Emergency Department, offered support from our Occupational Health Team and Carecall Counselling Service and be given our full backing if they wish to pursue through the legal process.”

Mr Donaghy added: “We know that the majority of the population value and respect the contribution made by health and social care workers and will support us in promoting a safe environment, where patients and clients can benefit from high quality care without the threat of abuse, violence or disruption.”

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