New policy statement on violence in healthcare

April 26, 2016

In December 2014, an on duty physician was violently assaulted by a psychiatric patient at BC’s Penticton Regional Hospital. It is just one example of physicians facing violence in health care settings in BC. 

One survey of family physicians in Canada found that 40% have experienced at least one incident of severe abuse (such as physical or sexual assault or stalking) at some point in their careers. In acute care hospitals, studies indicate that violence may be most prevalent in emergency, psychiatric, medical-surgical, and paediatric settings. In the community, violence may be most likely to occur in long-term care, elder care, mental health and small/remote healthcare facilities. Although certain healthcare settings may be particularly vulnerable to violence, violent encounters can occur in all practice settings.  

The reality is that violence against health care professionals is a growing concern for all health professionals, including doctors. “The challenge has been that training and prevention initiatives are generally not focused on the perspective of the physician,” says Dr Don Milliken, Chair of Council on Health and Economics and Policy. “That’s why our Committee developed a new policy statement that will help to provide Doctors of BC with a strong advocacy approach ensuring meaningful physician input into prevention of workplace violence.”

To support safety of all healthcare providers, including physicians, the Doctors of BC policy statements recommends there is meaningful physician input and involvement in the development, implementation, and assessment of initiatives aimed at preventing violence in healthcare. 

In addition, Doctors of BC commits to working with government, Health Authorities, WorkSafeBC, other healthcare providers, and community partners to collectively address violence in healthcare.

To learn more, download the policy statement here