Recent evidence demonstrates that violence against doctors has become a growing international concern.
President of the WMA (World Medical Association) Dr Xavier Deau comments: ‘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.’ An incident of violence towards a doctor is likely to interrupt patient care for the remainder of the doctor’s working day, possibly longer.
It was called upon by the WMA three years ago to encourage healthcare institutions to develop zero tolerance policies towards workplace violence, something that has become ‘even more urgent today’, according to Dr Deau.
A similar policy towards workplace violence was adopted by the NHS in 1999. In recent years however, there have been notable increases in the number of recorded assaults on NHS staff. 2012 saw an increase of 9% in recorded assaults.
It is clear that whilst Zero Tolerance policies may deter cases of workplace violence, further action is required to protect worker safety. At Skyguard, the provision of small alarms known at the MySOS device can act as a simple, effective way to call for help in emergency situations. NHS staff could benefit from such devices that will discreetly raise alarms, preventing potentially life threatening situations.