Covid rules: Hospital workers facing violence from annoyed visitors
Over the past months hospital workers noticed an increase in aggression against them from visitors who don't want to adhere to the rules in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus. A quarter of hospital employees even reported being physically assaulted, according to a survey by care workers' association NU'91 and conversations BNR had with various hospitals.
NU'91 surveyed some 1,200 hospital workers. 60 percent said that aggression and intimidation in the workplace increased over the past months. A quarter faced physical violence - hitting, kicking, or being spit in the face. "We also see that healthcare workers are sometimes even harassed at home," NU'91 chairman Stella Salden said to BNR. According to her, employers must encourage their staff to report such incidents to the authorities.
Hospitals are also noticing that visitors adhere to the coronavirus rules less and less. Whole families regularly show up for visiting hours, fewer people are wearing face masks, and social distancing is increasingly ignored, multiple hospitals, including the Meander Medical Center in Amersfoort and the Elisabeth Tweesteden Hospital in Tilburg, said to the broadcaster. Hospital Group Twente and the St Jansdal Hospital in Hardewijk, Dronten, and Lelystad said they've increased security. Other hospitals gave in and relaxed rules.
CDA parliamentarian Joba van den Berg called this situation unacceptable. She called on healthcare institutions to report incidents and press charges. "Of course this can never be accepted. Employees also really need to be taken care of when something like this happens, and nothing like: it was just a bad day walk it off. It is very drastic when people have to deal with this."
Van den Berg also thinks the government needs to do more to debunk false claims around the coronavirus. "There needs to be a lot more explanation about the why of certain measures. Stories need to be debunked much more often with examples and figures, why corona is really much worse than an ordinary flu. That is not only a task for hospitals, I think this is also a task for the cabinet in particular."