Speaking at the 5th International Conference on Violence in the Health Sector, Howard Catton, Director of Nursing and Health Policy at the International Council of Nurses (ICN), called for increased protection of health workers through legislation, zero tolerance policies, security measure, education and improved working environments.
Held from 26 to 28 October 2016 in Dublin, Ireland on the theme “Broadening our view – responding together”, the International Conference on Violence in the Health Sector is the largest global conference dedicated to work related aggressions and violence within the health services. It addresses a significant and pervasive concern that not only affects the health of the workforce but also impacts negatively the course of care delivery and patient outcomes.
This year, the conference took a multi-dimensional approach and explored the biological, spiritual, experiential, legal, political and societal perspectives of violence. This broad outlook aims at encouraging the development of more collaborative response strategies and sensitizing stakeholders to the issue.
Mr. Catton spoke about nurses’ experience of violence and abuse in the workplace and strategies to prevent and mitigate harm. He highlighted the particular case of healthcare workers who live and work in war zones and areas of conflict. In Syria, healthcare workers, facilities, equipment and transport are now deliberately being targeted as a military strategy. ICN, in partnership with the World Medical Association, recently issued a statement strongly condemning this and calling for respect for human rights. ICN will continue to speak up where we see such violations.