Care staff had plastic surgery ops after attacks

Some social care workers in Ireland have needed plastic surgery, and to have plates and pins inserted into their bodies, as a result of violence in their workplace.

A new report states that there is a culture that accepts workplace violence in the social care profession.

“I’ve come across people who are considering leaving the sector, people who have been injured so badly that they have required either plastic surgery, they’ve required pins and plates in limbs,” said Phil Keogh, one of the authors of the report.

“Although I’m not focusing on the service user or client, it has a negative effect on them too and they certainly will not feel safe if they don’t feel their staff is safe.”

The report, entitled Crisis, concern, and complacency: A study on the extent, impact, and management of workplace violence and assault on social care workers, is the biggest of its kind in Europe.

More than 400 social care workers were surveyed across a variety of settings, both statutory and private.

Co-author Catherine Byrne outlined the stark findings of the report at its launch in DIT Grangegorman yesterday.

“Three out of four social care workers in this study had experienced physical assault, 60% were threatened weekly or more often in their workplace, and 84% had lost a belief in the effectiveness of this profession,” said Ms Byrne.

“This all led us to identify that there is a culture there, there has been a culture there that accepts workplace violence and it is apparent in organisations and service.”

Jim Gibson, the chief operations officer of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency spoke at the launch yesterday.

“I was very eager to come here today to show that we’re not complacent,” said Mr Gibson.

However, he added: “We do need to resolve the incidences of violence that social care workers experience.”


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