Episodes of violence against health professionals fell by 37% between 2022 and 2023

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Around 1,000 episodes of violence against health professionals were recorded last year on the Directorate-General for Health’s Notifica platform, a decrease of 37% compared to 2022, when 1,632 incidents were recorded.

In 2023, 1,036 episodes of violence against nurses, doctors, technical assistants and operational assistants were reported.

“In terms of notifications, (…) the records of episodes of violence tell us that 2022 was the year in which we had the highest number of records – there were 1,632 – and last year we had a drop of around 37%,” Sérgio Barata, the coordinator of the Security Office for Preventing and Combating Violence against Health Professionals, told Lusa.

According to the official, “a lot of positive work has been done in the last year”, indicating that the total figures for 2023 are not yet known.

“We only have data from the first half of the year, [the authorities] monitored 1,200 situations. This leads us to suspect (…) that the reporting system needs to be improved. Basically, this alerts us to the need to improve the system here, to make reporting easier, so that we have more immediate figures and not the gap we have at the moment,” he stressed.

From 2022 to the end of the first half of 2023, 302 situations were reported criminally and 62 investigation/disciplinary procedures and 458 procedures for accidents on duty were opened, and 4,040 days of absence from work were recorded as a result of episodes of violence.

According to data from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS), the majority of victims of aggression reported last year were nurses (35%), 3% technical assistants and 10% operational assistants.

Regarding professional categories, the coordinator said that since 2020, the number of notifications for technical assistants and operational assistants has been increasing.

“You also have to bear in mind that, in absolute terms, nurses (…) are the largest professional group in the National Health Service [SNS], so it is natural that, (…) as they are one of the first faces in patient care, they have a slightly higher expression than other professional categories,” he said.

Psychological violence (67%) is the most common form of violence reported, followed by physical violence (14%) and bullying (5%).

“Psychological support is available in 81% of the institutions, these groups also provide legal support – 65% of the institutions have this legal support – and so when health professionals experience a situation, they inform and contact these groups more quickly than they register on the DGS platform,” he noted.

Between the beginning of 2022 and June 2023, health institutions monitored 3,024 cases, more than those verified by the Notifica platform.

“It should be said that these are provisional figures (…), meaning that it’s possible that someone will still report during the month of January. We use the date of occurrence as a technology, which means that situations reported at the end of the year are still notified,” he added.

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi

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