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“National Ambulance Service notified of 100 incidents of assaults against staff,” TD says 

Information provided by the National Ambulance Service (NAS) to the Independent TD for Laois-Offaly, Carol Nolan, has revealed that the Service has recorded 100 incidents of assault on its staff since January 2020.

The incidents were categorised under the headings of Direct Physical Assault (62) Verbal Assault (36) and Sexual Assault (2) and ranged in severity from Moderate, Minor, to Negligible.

Deputy Nolan also requested the data to be broken down by geographical region.

This showed that the majority of assault incidents took place in West (45). The North Leinster region recorded 29 incidents while the South recorded 26.

Both Sexual Assault incidents took place in the West and were categorised as ‘Negligible.’

Deputy Nolan had earlier raised issues surrounding understaffing and a shortage of ambulance cover in Offaly and Laois during Leaders Questions in the Dáil with the Minister for Public Expenditure, Michael McGrath who was standing in for the Taoiseach:

“Assaults of any kind on paramedics and ambulance staff are an absolute disgrace and I condemn them in the strongest possible terms,” said Deputy Nolan.

“We know that NAS staff operate in a highly pressurised work environment as the capacity of the system to meet the demand for ambulances is just not there. But we now know that assaults are occurring on a frighteningly routine basis.”

“Any incident where ambulance staff are verbally, physically or sexually assaulted is a very serious matter; notwithstanding the way that the NAS has chosen to categorise them. Indeed I would be extremely concerned about the way in which the two sexual assault incidents came to be categorised as negligible. That is something I will be seeking further information on from the NAS in terms of the methodology that it employs in such incidents.”

“We must ensure that our paramedics are fully supported when they have endured an assault of any kind. They are a critical and invaluable resource for communities and they must not be driven out by any concerns they may have for their personal or physical safety,” Deputy Nolan concluded.

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