A survey for the SAHP trade union found that 43% of its members faced violent threats at some point in 2022 and 22% were subjected to actual violence at some point during the year. The research revealed that mental illness and the influence of alcohol and/or drugs are the most common factors in violent incidents. Worryingly only half of those subjected to threats or violence say that some form of report was made. The SAHP says that employers should always show zero tolerance for threats and violence against healthcare professionals and must increase the preventive work with risk assessments, safety planning and training efforts. Employers should also make use of the support material developed by trade unions in collaboration with employees and safety representatives. The SAHP also wants all incidents reported and a reduction in working along with patients, ensuring that there are more employees on site to improve safety. The union is also calling for increased penalties for crimes that target health professionals.
Health professionals’ union calls for action on violence
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The FP CGIL public services federation is calling for urgent action to tackle increasing violence against staff as well as staff suicides in the prison service. Thirty-five staff have committed suicide over the last five years with 2250 violent incidents recorded over the same period. The increase in violence is reflected in the number of incidents rising from 344 in 2013 to 590 in 2017. The union has criticised the prison service management for failing to engage to tackle the issue with its sole main response being to establish a helpline for staff. The union wants to see a range of measures