10 fold increase in reported assaults on staff at Kerry General

There has been a tenfold increase in the reports of assaults on staff at Kerry General. Figures obtained by Radio Kerry News show there were 94 reports of violent incidents from March 2005 to September 2005. This compares with just nine reports from January to March 2004. These reports of assaults are divided into three categories, actual assaults, threat of assault and verbal abuse.General Nurses are the group most vulnerable in all of these three groupings followed by security and paramedics. Of the actual assaults reported from the four month period of March to September, nurses topped the list at 23 and security 14. For threats of assault, again nurses reported 13 times and security staff 7. 32 incidents of verbal abuse were made known to hospital management by nurses again.The HSE southern area has an initiative in place to combat an increase in assaults, called Hospital Watch. The scheme is similar to the neighbourhood watch scheme where personnel at the hospital liaise with the gardai. With the increasing number of assaults on staff, it remains to be seen if a review should be undertaken of the hospital watch initiative.