Increasing patients aggressive behaviour towards healthcare staff in Valencia

by Lorraine Williamson
aggressive behaviour in hospital

VALENCIA – Employees of health centers and hospitals in Valencia increasingly have to tolerate aggressive behaviour from their patients. They express their frustration because they are not helped on time or can make an appointment due to the acute shortage of personnel. 

This has been announced by the civil servants’ union CSIF. The shortage of personnel in primary care in combination with the extremely high workload as a result of the Omicron variant often leads to serious threats and aggressive behaviour. It is estimated that there is currently a shortage of about 4,500 healthcare professionals. 

Exponential increase in aggression 

President Fernando García of the healthcare branch of CSIF signals an exponential increase in the number of aggressive behaviour cases. “Threats and insults are no longer the exceptions, but the order of the day. Due to the high workload, healthcare workers do not have time to report the aggressive behaviour that they have to deal with through the usual procedures. Therefore, most cases remain outside the statistics, making it impossible to determine exactly how many cases there are,” says García. 

According to data from the Valencian Regional Council, there are about 500 cases per month. In 16% of the cases, it is a physical form, and in 84% a verbal form of aggression. The CSIF urges the regional Ministry of Health to map out the psychosocial risks for healthcare workers. 

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The Valencian Association of General Practitioners and the Forum of Physicians in Primary Care of Valencia have denounced the problem. Consequently, they have called for action to be taken. They want a structural solution to this growing problem. However, measures taken so far by the regional Ministry of Health have not yet led to a noticeable workload reduction. 

No resources to solve staff shortage 

Regional Health Minister Ana Barceló said last Thursday that the measures have alleviated the situation somewhat, but that they clearly do not offer a structural solution for a situation like the one now, with a record number of corona infections. Nevertheless, she indicated that there are no more resources available to solve the staff shortage, neither at her ministry nor at any other ministry. 

Related post: Healthcare staff shortages

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