A nurse in Northern Ireland will be killed unless attacks on medical staff are stopped, an MLA has claimed.
East Derry SDLP MLA John Dallat issued the warning after two nurses were attacked by two other women who burst into the A&E department at the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine.
New figures show that almost 3,300 staff linked to medical and emergency services were physically and verbally abused between April and September last year.
Mr Dallat said: “Something must be done before someone is killed.
“It is a sad reflection on society that our frontline staff saving lives need security staff but that is reality. It is a fact that some people, often crazed on drink and drugs frequent A&E Departments on a regular basis making life hell for those who work there.”
Health minister Michael McGimpsey said that such attacks were appalling and pledged to use the law to stop the violence.
He said: “In June 2007 I launched a Zero Tolerance publicity campaign aimed at raising awareness and reinforcing the message that violence against healthcare staff will not be tolerated.
“Consideration is also being given to the creation of new legislation in Northern Ireland which will provide health and social care staff with added protection from attack.”
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