Kieran McCarthy MLA said: “We need zero tolerance on attacks on healthcare staff. People must not be allowed to think that they can get away with despicable attacks on our healthcare staff.
“We need tougher laws to be created to protect our doctors and nurses. This type of strong deterrent must be put in place quickly. We need to see every attack investigated by the police, and stronger sentences handed out to those who are found guilty.
“We have seen pilot projects locally where security staff are provided in some hospitals. It is a sad indictment on society today that these measures are needed, but the Executive may need to consider rolling out such initiatives on a wider scale.
“Precautions also need to be taken to ensure that healthcare staff are not left isolated and exposed in difficult situations. Our healthcare staff do an excellent job in stressful circumstances. They deserve the extra protection they need to go about their daily work free from intimidation.”