Belfast Telegraph

Muckamore Abbey Hospital: Five patients assaulted by staff over three years

Five vulnerable patients were assaulted by staff at Muckamore Abbey hospital between 2014 and 2017, it has been reported.

Figures obtained by the BBC via a Freedom of Information request show that during this three-year period 53 incidents of assaults on patients by staff were reported, five of which were investigated and substantiated.

The BBC reports there was 4,546 incidents of physical abuse, assault or violence by patients on staff reported during the same period.

There has also been 193 instances of staff sickness because of stress.

Since November 2017, 13 members of staff have been suspended after allegations of ill-treatment were made.

Muckamore Abbey Hospital is located just outside of Antrim town and provides inpatient facilities for vulnerable individuals with learning difficulties and mental health issues.

A whistleblower working at the Co Antrim hospital warned last month "someone is going to get killed" if issues at the facility were not addressed, claiming there was "rampant" violent assaults on staff and a "dangerous work environment".

Janice Smyth, Northern Ireland director of the Royal College of Nursing, speaking on Good Morning Ulster, said she was "shocked" that nurses employed to provide care for vulnerable patients at Muckamore Abbey Hospital had been investigated and allegations substantiated that patients had been assaulted.

ANICE SMYTHDirect.jpg
Janice Smyth

Ms Smyth added: "I think it is horrendous, one assault on a patient is one too many and the majority of nurses you would speak to would tell you that, or anybody working in healthcare.  I think it is very sad that that has happened and each one of those warranted investigation to see the circumstances that led to that."

She added: "It is also a matter of grave concern that there have been 4,546 incidents of physical abuse, assault or violence by patients on staff reported during the same period.

"It is therefore unsurprising that staff are absent from work due to stress.

"The 80 patients accommodated in Muckamore Abbey Hospital have complex needs and are amongst the most vulnerable in our society."

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