60,000 Turkish medical personnel subjected to violence in last 5 years: Report
Some 60,000 Turkish medical personnel have been subjected to violence in the last five years, according to a report based on complaints medics made on an emergency hotline.
“According to data provided by the Health Ministry, on average 33 violence cases against medical personnel happen in one day. Those working in healthcare fields are being subjected to violence 16 times more than those working in other fields,” the report, prepared by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Tekin Bingöl for March 14 Doctor’s Day, said.
One reason behind the cause of the rise in violence against doctors is the “Health Transformation Program,” which sees patients as customers, according to the report.
While some 18,000 doctors were subjected to “physical violence” in the last five years, the remaining 42,000 encountered “verbal abuse,” according to the report.
“There are 144,827 doctors, 27,853 of whom work at private hospitals in Turkey. When taking Turkey’s 80 million population into consideration, one doctor has to care for 568 patients. This figure [one doctor] is really low when compared to OECD countries,” the deputy said.
“In Turkey, for every 17 doctors, there are approximately 10,000 patients, while this figure is 30 doctors in OECD countries,” the report said, adding that Turkey is on the bottom of the list of the number of patients per doctor together with South Africa and Indonesia.
The report stated that a Turkish doctor conducts 3,316 physical examinations a year, and many of these patients check-in from emergency services.
“While emergency service application rate is five to six percent in other countries with a normal health system, in our country this figure is around 30 percent due to health policies,” the deputy added in the report.
Another issue that the doctors in Turkey are grappling with is working hours, the report stressed.
“The Article 99 of the Civil Servant Law stipulates that the weekly working hour is 40. But no upper limit is defined for doctors in public service,” it said.
“Violence in the health industry has become so widespread that high school students do not want to become doctors. There is the issue of more than 30 violence cases happening in a day on average and this is intimidating students,” Sinan Adıyaman, the head of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), told daily Hürriyet.
“New graduates try to choose [medicine specialization] fields in which intensive care and deaths are minimal,” he added.