Yesterday the Square, “WINDSOR’S INDEPENDENT NEWS SOURCE” reported that a new poll of hospital staff showed that “registered practical nurses and personal support workers have reported experiencing at least one incident of physical violence in the hospital in the last year.”
The poll was conducted by the Canadian Union of Public Employees through its hospital division, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions and included results from polling almost 2000 hospital workers.
The shocking results were presented by Michael Hurley, President of the OCHU who was joined by a victim of assault, Scott Sharp. 2 years ago Scott was working as a personal support worker when a disturbed patient violently threw him through a wall in a hospital in Guelph.
Over two years on from the attack, Scott is still struggling to recover and return to work.
“Hospital management is scandalously complacent about an environment where their largely female staff are frequently hit and sexually harassed and sexually assaulted. Managers see this as just part of our jobs,” Hurley said. “One staff member, who was sexually assaulted, was told by her supervisor that the patient must have been sexually frustrated. People working in healthcare should have the same rights not to be physically or sexually assaulted or harassed as any other person.”
The poll also specifically asked whether “their employer protects them and their co-workers effectively from violence.”
Almost half (48%) reported that their employers did NOT protect them and their co-workers effectively from violence.
The report resulted have led the Canadian Union of Public Employees to demand legislative measures to specifically protect health care staff.
We are as shocked as any reader about the prevalence of violence in healthcare as reflected in this report. We also recognize the sexual harassment and sexual assault elements described are up to now often disregarded and “just part of the the job” (Michael Hurley, OCHU)
GuardianMPS could not agree more with Hurley’s statement that “People working in healthcare should have the same rights not to be physically or sexually assaulted or harassed as any other person”
We would also draw attention to the fact that that this report makes no reference to healthcare workers employed outside of hospital buildings. This is concerning as these staff are often even more exposed than those perhaps partially protected by security workers, cctv and even the presence of co-workers. Any resulting legislative measures brought about should unequivocally include policies for the protection of remote healthcare workers both from a prevention and punitive perspective.