More than 85 percent of health workers in Turkey are subjected to violence at least once during their professional life, according to a recent survey conducted among the health workers by the health union, Sağlık-Sen.
Health workers who have been exposed to violence at least once during their professional life made up 86.8 percent, with 81.4 percent of respondents saying they were exposed to violence last year, according to a Sağlık-Sen survey conducted among 1,300 health workers in 15 difference provinces across Turkey via face to face interviews.
A total of 81.9 percent of respondents said they “feared” being subjected to violence in their workspace, while this number is 39 percent among those who had never been exposed to violence before. The respondents who said they were exposed to physical violence at least once over the past year make up 23.7 percent of those interviewed.
The survey also revealed doctors were exposed to violence more than other health workers. The rate of doctors who were exposed to violence at least once over their professional life was 94.9 percent, followed by nurses at 93.3 percent, and midwives at 89.8 percent.
Doctors are exposed to violence more frequently than other professions in the health sector, according to the survey, with around 43.6 percent of them exposed to violence more than 11 times during their professional lives.
The rates of violence against health workers vary in different regions of Turkey. The rate of those who were exposed to violence at least once last year was highest in southeast Turkey at 95.7 percent, followed by the Mediterranean region with 84.6 percent and the Marmara region with 83.8 percent. The lowest rates were from the Black Sea region, where 69.3 percent of respondents said they were exposed to violence at least once last year. When the frequency of violence is taken into account, the southeastern region and the Marmara region have the highest rates, with 20.5 percent and 20.1 percent.
Fears highest in southeast
The number of health workers in the southeastern Turkey who fear violence when they go to work is also higher than their colleagues working in other parts of the country. A total of 92.3 percent of health workers in southeastern Turkey said they feared violence in their workplace, according to the survey. This rate is 86.4 percent in the eastern region and 86.2 percent in Mediterranean region. The lowest rate was again in the Black Sea region with 70 percent.
A large majority of health workers believe security measures are not sufficient in their workplace. Some 75.4 percent of doctors, 69.6 percent of health officers, 64.9 percent of nurses, 62.1 percent of midwives believe the security measures are not sufficient.
Work conditions may also increase the rate of violence, according to the survey. The rate of those being exposed to physical violence last year is higher among those who were on duty when they were subjected to physical violence at 25.5 percent, compared to those who were not on duty at 19.8 percent. While extra work and being on duty does not influence the rate of being exposed to the verbal or sexual violence, it does affect the rate of being exposed to physical violence.
Meanwhile, Sağlık-Sen President Metin Memiş brought the issue to Parliament, voicing his recommendations and presenting the survey to Necdet Ünüvar, the head of Parliamentary Commission on family, labor and social affairs.