New poll finds “alarming” rates of violence against Ontario hospital staff, results released Wednesday in London

By , in PR PR Health on .

LONDON, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – Nov. 7, 2017) – Scott Sharp was working at a Guelph hospital when called to assist nurses who were being attacked in the emergency department by a disturbed patient. Slammed through a wall, Sharp was very badly injured, physically and psychologically, and has spent over two years working to recover and return to work.

New polling, being released on Wednesday (November 8, 2017, 1:30 p.m.) at a media conference at the Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre, 656 Elizabeth Street (London) shows that assaults on hospital staff, like Mr. Sharp, are happening at “alarming” rates of frequency.

“Whether it is physical, verbal or sexual, Ontario hospital staff face the potential threat of assault with every shift regardless of what type of hospital they work at,” says OCHU president Michael Hurley, who, along with Mr. Sharp, will release the poll findings.

Earlier this fall, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), through its hospital division, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE), polled 1,976 members (the majority – 1,568 of them women) working in hospitals in seven Ontario communities. The sample included hospital staff working at large urban hospitals, some with forensic psychiatric units, and mid-size hospitals and one rural hospital.

Respondents were asked whether they had experienced different forms of violence and how often – from at least one incident to over nine incidents – in an average year. The poll also probed the prevalence of sexual violence and harassment, and staff perceptions of employer reprisal when workers do report incidents.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that health care workplace violence is an “underreported, ubiquitous and persistent problem that has largely been tolerated and ignored.” Other studies show that staff who provide direct patient care face higher rates of workplace violence than police and corrections officers.

OCHU is asking the province for amendments to the Ontario Occupational Health & Safety Act and the Public Hospitals Act that would better protect hospital staff.

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Brad Bennett

Brad Bennett

Brad grew up in a small town in northern Iowa. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children.
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