Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

In a worrying increase, professional medical associations throughout Spain received a total of 843 complaints for physical and verbal aggression in the year 2022. This number represents the highest number since the Collegiate Medical Organization (OMC) began collecting statistics in 2010, and reflects a 38% growth compared to the previous year. Hospitals now account for 27% of assaults, followed by hospital emergencies (9%) and outpatient emergencies (8%). In addition, 20% of the attacks are not related to medical care or care issues, but to structural problems. Among the causes, 64.3% is attributed to waiting time, followed by malfunctioning of the center (24.9%) and issues related to covid-19 protocols (11.7%). José María Rodríguez Vicente, Secretary General of the WTO and member of the National Observatory of Aggressions, points out that this study did not make clear the reason and the growth in the number of aggressions. According to his statements, the reported figure is “the tip of the iceberg”, since many doctors have become accustomed to living with threats without reporting them.

Five attacks per 1,000 registered doctors

The distribution of the attacks varies considerably between the autonomous communities. Cantabria, Catalonia and Extremadura, along with Ceuta and Melilla, register more than five for every 1,000 registered physicians. On the other hand, the Canary Islands, Galicia, the Basque Country and Navarra are below one attack per 1,000 doctors. The rest of the communities are close to the Spanish national average, which is 2.87 attacks per 1,000 doctors. Although the study focuses on doctors, the problem of assaults is not limited exclusively to them. Health professionals such as dentists, physiotherapists, nurses, pharmacists, veterinarians and social workers They have also requested help and training from the police in prevention techniques and tools. Faced with this worrying situation, the Collegiate Medical Organization has urged the creation of a National Plan against aggressions, in which all administrations and patient association platforms participate, through the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System. Since the murder of a doctor in Murcia by a patient in 2009, the WTO has compiled more than 6,000 cases.

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