A Hawke's Bay man has been sentenced to a year's probationary supervision after assaulting a male nurse in frustration over a delay in assessment by a mental health team at Palmerston North Hospital.

Iriheke Te Kani Manu Pere, now 38, punched the victim after being told by the nurse not to drink the hand sanitiser later on the night of January 22 this year, according to a police summary.

In Napier District Court yesterday, Judge Rea said even hospital authorities "aren't impressed" about the "considerable period of time" Pere had been kept waiting.

A summary said Pere admitted himself to be assessed, and his agitated manner deteriorated while in the hospital waiting room.

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He became aggressive when told by a nurse not to drink the hand sanitiser, and punched the nurse in the head, sending him falling backwards on to the waiting-room chairs.

He continued punching the nurse ignoring pleas by members of the public to stop.

He threw items of medical equipment on to the ground before leaving, and was found by police a short while later in the hospital grounds, where he complained of "hearing voices" and "the angels in my head are saying not to be here".

Judge Rea said it appeared Pere hadn't been using his medication, and his behaviour became irrational as he waited for assessment.

The judge understood from reports that Pere had since progressed, keeping up with the use of his medication and not using marijuana.