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‘Grave concern’ over growing violence against doctors

Incidents reported from every part of the world

Jo Carlowe

Friday, 17 April 2015

Medics internationally have expressed ‘grave concern’ about the growing incidence of violence against doctors.

At the Council meeting of the World Medical Association, held in Oslo this week, delegates from almost 40 national medical associations, heard a report about violence in every part of the world.

Dr Xavier Deau, President of the WMA, said: “We are hearing about increasing violence against doctors, ranging from verbal to physical attacks and even kidnapping and murder. 

“Everyone has the right to work in a safe environment. Violence against doctors is particularly mindless as it impacts on the entire healthcare system including the care of patients.”

Three years ago the WMA called on national medical associations to encourage healthcare institutions to develop a zero tolerance policy towards workplace violence. 

“That call has become even more urgent today,” said Dr Deau. 

Dr Bayazit Ilhan, President of the Turkish Medical Association, added: “Today is the third anniversary of the tragic murder of the young Turkish surgeon Dr Ersin Arslan who was stabbed by a relative of his patient while on duty in his hospital. Regrettably violence against doctors in Turkey has increased since then as it has in other parts of the world. We now need to take collaborative steps to eliminate violence against all health professionals.”

The NHS has had a ‘zero tolerance’ attitude towards violence since 1999. However, last year saw a 9% hike in violent assaults on NHS staff. 

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