NW saw the highest number of assaults against HSE staff

There were more than 6,000 assaults on staff in the Irish health service last year, with the North West recording one of the highest figures.

They include 46 sexual attacks against HSE workers.

These new figures have been released under the Freedom of Information Act.

They show that, in 2019, there were 6,057 reports of physical, sexual and verbal assaults against HSE staff.

61 per cent of them related to nursing staff.

There were more than 4,600 physical attacks and 46 sexual ones.

The highest number were in the HSE region that includes Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan.

Sinn Féin's health spokesperson, Louise O'Reilly, says the level of assaults last year is a disgrace.

The total number of assaults is down marginally from 6,265 in 2018.

The HSE says the safety of staff is a priority, and training in the management of violence and aggression is available in all services.