People who abuse or threaten nurses or doctors in hospitals across the country should face fines of up to €1,000, a Government TD claimed today.
John Moloney, Chair of the Dáil Health Committee, said a zero tolerance approach must be taken to the problem.
“Our healthcare professionals already work in a highly driven and busy atmosphere and should not have to put up with such disgraceful behaviour while they are trying to carry out their work,” he said.
“A large number of our nurses and doctors have suffered harassment, bullying or threats from patients and their relatives.
“We have to send a clear message that threats of any form will not be tolerated.
“Sending a clear message to the public that this will not be tolerated, and anyone who threatens or verbally abuses our staff will be removed from the premises and could face a fine of up to €1,000 is a positive step in protecting and supporting our healthcare professionals.”
The Laois-Offaly TD said the problem was particularly serious in Accident and Emergency wards.
“No-one working in our hospitals should have to put up with the threat of physical or verbal abuse,” he said.
“We’re talking about people who go to work in order to alleviate pain and treat ill-health – the fact that they may expect to be punched, kicked or shouted at cannot be tolerated.
“I will be seeking a meeting with the Tánaiste and Minister for Health, and the HSE to urge them to adopt these measures, sooner rather than later,” he added.