New safety office to deal with violence against health professionals

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 16-02-2020 12:00:00 · 0 Comments

Portugal’s government is to create a health safety office, reporting to the office of the minister of health, to take a more systematic approach to the problem of violence against health professionals

The office, which is already in force, is "a structure that finds parallel in what already exists in the Ministry of Education for school health and which will have the function of [providing] expert support to the Ministry of Health in this area so that we can take a more systematic approach to problems of violence against health professionals," the minister, Marta Temido, said at the end of a meeting with the minister of internal administration, Eduardo Cabrita.

The latter announced that his ministry is to second an official from the security forces in the office of the minister of health.

According to Cabrita, the official in question will coordinate the assessment of the "areas of greatest risk" that have already been identified and also carry out "the assessment from a safety perspective of physical characteristics of some health facilities, mainly hospitals and, if necessary, health centres so that appropriate recommendations are made to improve safety conditions for professionals and users of the National Health Service."

Temido said that she hoped that, with the new arrangements, more proactive action could be taken to train health professionals "to deal with episodes of this type" and "a diagnosis [made] of … the possible shortcomings or failures" of the physical premises in terms of the protection of those who work in them.

The goal is that health professionals are not victims of "any kind of aggression, whether physical or verbal," she said.

The meeting between the two ministers, which took place at the Ministry of Internal Adminstration and lasted about an hour, was to review recent episodes of violence and study new measures to find ways to improve the safety of health professionals.

According to government data released on Monday, nearly 1,000 cases of violence against health professionals in the workplace were reported in the first nine months of 2019.

In 2018, a total of 953 cases were reported, the statement said. It added that "injuries are the main type of notification, representing about 80% of the total".


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