Hospitals In Singapore To Protect Staff From Abusive Patients
Considering how much healthcare workers went through during the pandemic, one would think that they would be treated better.
But that may not always be the case, which is why hospitals in Singapore may start to take measures to protect their frontliners from harassment.
This comes after a survey of 3,000 healthcare professionals revealed that most of them have experienced some kind of abuse.
These stricter measures — which include discharging reproachful patients — have been endorsed by public healthcare clusters and the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Patients who abuse staff may be discharged & barred entry
On Friday (17 Mar), MOH announced that hospitals in Singapore may start to adopt a stronger stance against abusive patients.
According to them, the Tripartite Workgroup for the Prevention of Abuse and Harassment of Healthcare Workers suggested that people who harass healthcare staff should face harsher consequences for their actions.
For example, hospitals may discharge abusive patients who do not need urgent medical attention.
They can also issue warnings, refuse absurd requests, and bar entry to aggressive visitors.
Hospitals must additionally provide a safe environment for staff to report cases of abuse.
Survey shows concerning statistics
The suggestions for stricter measures follow a survey of over 3,000 healthcare professionals last year.
According to the findings, more than two-thirds of respondents have either witnessed or experienced abuse.
Most healthcare staff were subject to yelling, degrading comments, and threats to file complaints or take legal action.
Additionally, the Workgroup asserted that most cases go unreported.
Strong support for zero-tolerance policy against abuse
In response to the suggestions, SingHealth, National Healthcare Group, and National University Health System released a joint statement of support.
On Friday (17 Mar), the three public healthcare clusters acknowledged that “abuse is a prevalent issue in the healthcare setting”.
As such, they accept and “strongly support” the Workgroup’s recommendations.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung also publicly vouched for the recommendations on his Facebook page.
“Today the public healthcare family took a united stand against the abuse of our healthcare workers (HCWs),” he said.
“In the coming months, we will work to translate these recommendations into practices on the ground.”
Singapore hospitals may adopt stronger stance against abusive patients
In light of the fervent response, hospitals may soon roll out these recommendations.
It’s heartening to see that the authorities are taking concrete steps to protect the people on the ground.
Hopefully, these measures will yield the intended results.
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