Almost 240 attacks on hospital staff

Nurses and medical staff at Letterkenny University Hospital have been subjected to almost 240 assaults in less than three years.

The alarming figures have been released to Donegal News through the Freedom of Information Act.

The highest number of reported exposure to behavioural hazards occurred in 2020 (98) at the height of the pandemic. Last year, 87 incidents were reported by hospital staff. Fifty three have been recorded as of June this year.


A breakdown of the type of exposure to behavioural hazards endured by frontline staff at LUH reveals direct physical assault made up the majority (116). Fifty eight incidents of verbal aggression were reported by staff. Obstructive/other accounted for 22 reports. Incidents of aggression and intimidation/threat saw 18 and 16 reports, respectively. The number of sexual hazards disclosed by staff in the two and a half year time frame were six, while two incidents of discrimination/racial were also recorded.


The figures have been branded as “incomprehensible” and “hard to stomach” by Chair of Regional Health Forum West, Councillor Gerry McMonagle.

“I am very shocked at the number of reports that were made by staff in relation to assaults verbally and physically, especially at a time when our nurses and medical staff were going beyond the call of duty in relation to the pandemic and its affect on our communities.

“The nursing and medical staff were the frontline in defending and caring for our communities against the ravages of Covid-19 and to hear that they were being subjected to physical and verbal abuse is incomprehensible and hard to understand or stomach.”

Cllr McMonagle previously raised concerns about security at the hospital, in particular the security around the safety and well-being of nursing and medical staff. He said he now hopes that management at the hospital will put in place proper and adequate security cover to protect staff, management and patients being cared for at the hospital.

He plans to raise this with Saolta and hospital management urgently.


“This type of behaviour cannot be tolerated and something must be done immediately to protect our nursing and medical staff going forward.”

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