Two doctors have been injured in a stabbing incident involving a patient at a psychiatric unit in Limerick.

Dr Ananth Pulella, a psychiatrist, is in a serious condition as a result of the attack. He was initially taken to Mid-Western Regional Hospital, together with his psychologist colleague, Dr Catherine Burns, who was also injured.

Dr Pulella has since been moved to Cork University Hospital.

Dr Burns is now in a comfortable condition.

Gardaí are investigating the stabbings at St Anne's Day Hospital, which happened at around 3pm.

A man in his 30s has been arrested in connection with the incident and has been detained for questioning at the Roxboro Garda Station.

The HSE is co-operating with garda inquiries and the mental health inspectorate has been informed.

The Psychiatric Nurses' Association says the incident highlights the need for an urgent review of safety precautions for frontline healthcare staff.

General Secretary Des Kavanagh said the incident was the latest in a series of attacks on health workers in the city.

He claims a doctor was stabbed at a day service two years ago and that nurses were attacked around four years ago.

Mr Kavanagh says that if there is not proper investment in staffing, infrastructure and appropriate follow-up services, healthcare staff will continually be put at risk.

Meanwhile, the HSE has said the present level of service at St Brendan's Hospital in Grangegorman in Dublin is 'temporarily unsustainable'.

It says an ongoing shortage of nursing staff is causing serious health and safety concerns for staff and patients and that recruitment drives in Ireland and abroad have failed to secure more nurses.

The executive says that in the future, as part of the Grangegorman development plan, it is expected that St Brendan's will have a range of services, including a new modern, purpose-built psychiatric intensive care unit and low secure units.

Currently, the hospital has 14 low secure male beds.