Police to be deployed at hospitals after violence toward staff

SAFURE CANTÜRK
ISTANBUL
Published 25.06.2015 20:07

The government plans to assign police officers and install X-ray scanners at hospitals after a string of violent acts targeting medical staff.

Doctors and nurses frequently face attacks by angry relatives and friends of patients. In May, a doctor was shot dead at the hospital he worked at in the northern Turkish city of Samsun.

According to statistics, more than 31,000 acts of violence were reported against medical staff between 2012 and 2015. Doctors suffered most from the violence with the majority of incidents being verbal assaults, while 14,250 incidents involved physical violence. Moreover, four doctors have been killed at hospitals in the past 10 years.

Security at hospitals is provided by private security guards who are mostly inefficient in tackling the violence and do not have weapons. The Health Ministry is now in talks with the Interior Ministry to deploy police officers at hospitals.

Another major measure considered for hospital security is the installation of X-ray scanners, as visitors can freely enter the premises without being searched for guns. It is not clear how the scanners would be used in emergency rooms, but the ministry may mull limiting access to them.

Labor unions representing medical personnel have proposed a radical measure to tackle the violence to deter the perpetrators from attacking hospitals. They called for the implementation of new regulations that would ban those involved in acts of violence toward medical staff from social security benefits for six months.

The move to replace private guards with police officers is part of the government's plans to abolish private security in other public institutions, including courthouses.

Private guards are not as skilled as police or soldiers due to limited training, raising concerns about their ability to respond to acts of violence in their area of responsibility. Guards have come under fire for past incidents, especially regarding their efforts to tackle violence, including armed brawls at a courthouse, violence targeting doctors at hospitals, violence between fans in stadiums and clashes between students at universities.

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