The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Sharp increase in violent patients at Geneva University Hospital

Staff at Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) are increasingly suffering from physical and verbal attacks by patients. Two thirds of the serious cases occurred in psychiatry, as the HUG announced on Thursday.

In 2023, Geneva University Hospitals recorded around a thousand physical and verbal assaults against staff. Of these, 308 were classified as serious. This means that the number of serious cases has almost doubled since 2020, as the HUG wrote.

Most of these serious attacks were committed in psychiatric wards (63%) and emergency departments (17%). According to HUG, interventions by security officers have shown a continuous increase in physical aggression since 2018.

The hospital management points out that this finding does not only apply to Geneva. According to the French Observatory on Violence in the Healthcare Sector, twice as many nursing staff are affected by incidents and physical or verbal violence at work compared to the rest of the working population.

In order to step up the fight against this problem of violence, HUG wants to encourage its employees to systematically report such assaults. The procedure for reporting acts of violence is currently being simplified in order to ensure better follow-up and implement preventive and corrective measures, the press release explains further.

The HUGs also want to offer training for their employees and carry out an internal poster campaign to remind them that a zero-tolerance culture towards violence was introduced at the HUGs in 2016.


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