The Strangford Assembly Member said: “I was absolutely disgusted to hear that 5,000 healthcare workers have been attacked in Northern Ireland in the past year. The government and health trusts must sit up and take notice of this alarming statistic.
“These authorities must provide more protection for healthcare staff. This could be done through providing more security guards in accident and emergency departments or providing more CCTV equipment within health facilities.
“I am sure that many of these attacks happened when patients were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Only a few weeks ago, a Belfast City Hospital survey showed that the number of hospital patients over the drink drive limit here has risen by 113% in five years. I am sure that this figure has a bearing on the high level of attacks on healthcare staff.
“The culture of binge drinking among young people in Northern Ireland must be ended. By stopping binge drinking here, hospital staff will be safer, and young people can look forward to healthier futures, without heart and liver problems later in life.”
Kieran McCarthy concluded: “This issue must be addressed immediately by the government and health trusts, and they must ensure that security measures are in place to help prevent further attacks.”