Ministry launches action plan against violence in health sector

Ministry launches action plan against violence in health sector

Ministry launches action plan against violence in health sector

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The Turkish Health Ministry has introduced an action plan to fight rising violence in the industry by increasing access to health services and tracking patients who previously attacked medical personnel, daily Habertürk has reported. 

Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu said a “zero tolerance to violence in the health [sector]” action plan was presented and approved in a cabinet meeting, claiming that new measures would destroy the perception of increased violence in the industry within a short period of time. 

The action plan foresees the introduction of a “caution alarm system,” whereby individuals who previously attacked medical personnel will be recorded. With the new system, personnel will be warned if such a patient walks into their health center and past assailants will be examined under the supervision of security personnel. 

Conversely, health centers where cases of violence are frequently reported will also be investigated, alongside medical personnel who are subjected to violence multiple times. 

According to the plan, medical personnel will be asked about why they encounter violence more often than their colleagues, while an investigation will also be launched into the phenomenon. 

Müezzinoğlu said one of the aims of the plan was to eradicate the conditions that provide fertile ground for acts of violence, without scapegoating patients or medical personnel. 

In line with this vision, the ministry will take steps to enable increased access to medical services by providing night time health services in fields including pediatrics, gynecology and internal diseases - which witness the highest number of cases of violence. 

Similarly, otolaryngology (ear nose and throat) departments will also provide night time services during flu season. 

Community health care centers will be established in district centers across metropolitan municipalities and will function until 10 p.m. on weekdays and weekends. 

Turkey’s doctors went on a one-day nationwide strike in June 2015, after the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) called on all its members to protest the killing of 56-year-old thoracic surgeon Kamil Furtun.

The TTB had also called for a past strike in April 2012 after doctor Ersin Arslan was stabbed to death by a 17-year-old relative of his former patient in the southeastern province of Gaziantep.