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14,000 attacks on health workers

Nearly 14,000 attacks have been recorded on health service workers in Northern Ireland since 2004, it has been revealed.

Nurses, doctors and support staff have been punched, confronted with knives and suffered broken bones during some 13,747 attacks, workers' unions claimed.

Members of the emergency services, such as fire crews and ambulance drivers, have also been attacked and appliances damaged.

Health minister Michael McGimpsey revealed the figures in a written response in the Assembly.

Unison's Lily Kerr said: "We are sad that people, despite all the campaigns, don't have the respect to treat staff who look after them decently."

The figures come after a zero-tolerance campaign was launched by Mr McGimpsey last June and police officers were based at Belfast City Hospital during "hot-spot" times to tackle attacks on staff.

Ms Kerr said: "One member of staff suffered a broken thumb after being assaulted in the mental health area at Gransha Hospital.

"That doesn't make it right, nobody turns up to work to get bruised and battered."


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