Violence against health care workers continues despite measures, says report
Violence against health care workers is still a major issue in the country amid the ongoing pandemic despite legal measures taken by authorities to prevent it, according to a new report by a labor union of health care workers.
The study conducted by Essential Health and Social Service Laborers’ Union (Öz-Sağlık-İş) has shown that 67 percent of the health care workers have been subjected to a form of violence at least once while working.
While verbal abuse has ranked first, it is followed by psychological, physical as well as sexual violence, according to the survey, which was conducted between August-October 2020 and joined by 8,001 healthcare workers across the country.
The worrying trend made headlines again in November 2020 when a group of health care workers was caught on camera barricading themselves in a surgery room when relatives of a patient argued with hospital staff and tried to force their way inside at Cebeci Hospital in the capital Ankara.
Over 76 percent of the health care workers who were subjected to physical violence said that they experienced such violence by the relatives of patients, according to the report.
The majority of those who have said that they were subjected to violence have also noted that violence increases at night.
The occupational groups subjected to violence are mostly emergency medical technicians, medical secretaries, patient care workers, medical documentation officers, security personnel, nurses and ambulance drivers.
Most of the respondents who admitted to having experienced some form of violence stated that they were subjected to violence on a Monday.
While 69.7 percent of the respondents stated that they have started to see violence in the health care sector as a usual practice, some 30.3 percent of the respondents said they do not find it normal under any circumstances.
Some 84 percent of the health care professionals subjected to violence stated that they stay in constant anxiety, fear and alertness, which has negatively affected their work efficiency.
Over 87 percent of the participants believe that violence against healthcare workers could be prevented.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, the union’s chairman Devlet Sert said that violence is an important problem that endangers the life safety of all employees and reduces work efficiency, regardless of an occupational group.
Sert called on the authorities to consider this research that revealed the seriousness of violence against health care workers.
Around 361 people attacked 231 health care workers in 117 incidents that came to light in the last six months of 2020.
According to a law passed by the Turkish Parliament in April 2020, penalties for humiliating, threatening, or preventing healthcare workers from performing their duties were increased by 50 percent.