Belfast Telegraph

Female staff member 'badly assaulted' by intruder at Muckamore Abbey Hospital

Muckamore Abbey Hospital
Muckamore Abbey Hospital
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

A female staff member at Muckamore Abbey Hospital has been assaulted by an intruder, the Belfast Trust has confirmed.

The incident took place at the crisis-hit hospital on Thursday morning.

A trust spokesperson said that the woman was shaken but "recovering well" and that they would continue to provide her with support.

The incident, which was reported to the PSNI, took place at around 4am, away from patient areas.

"The safety of our patients and staff remains our highest priority and while Muckamore is an open site like all of our hospitals, we have increased our security as a precautionary measure," a Belfast Trust spokesperson said.

"We know this is a very difficult time for our staff working in Muckamore who are delivering safe care under very challenging circumstances. We will not tolerate any incidents like this.

"The PSNI have been informed and we are working closely with them to support our staff."

Earlier this week it emerged that CCTV footage viewed by police showed 1,500 crimes being committed on a single ward at the hospital.

20 staff, most of whom are nurses, have been suspended from Muckamore by the Belfast Trust following accusations of assault and inflicting cruelty on adults with a severe learning disability in 2017.

Sinn Fein Health spokesperson Pat Sheehan said the incident had raised more concerns about safety within the facility.

Sinn Fein MLA Pat Sheehan.
Sinn Fein MLA Pat Sheehan.

He claimed that the staff member was "badly assaulted".

“It can be a challenging and physical environment and unfortunately many staff members are being asked to work in stretched wards which is greatly impacting on the ability to provide safe care," he said.

“Recently the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority issued the Belfast Trust with three improvement notices relating to Muckamore and one of those focused on safe staffing levels.

“Sinn Fein has also raised concerns around safe staffing levels with the Belfast Trust and will be doing so again."

Mr Sheehan said that the trust had questions to answer around the facility.

“High quality services, especially those for some of the most vulnerable in society, require staff that are well led, resourced and held to account for their actions," the West Belfast MLA said.

“The Belfast Trust needs to state clearly and publicly, if it is able to provide the level of care needed for patients within Muckamore Abbey Hospital and how it plans to address the ongoing challenges.”

Police said that local officers are working closely with staff and the trust and that police enquiries are ongoing.

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