Health Ministry calls for crackdown on violence in hospitals, clinics after series of attacks on guards

Renee Ghert-Zand is the health reporter and a feature writer for The Times of Israel.

The Health Ministry calls on law enforcement agencies and legal authorities to deal better with ongoing violence in hospitals and community clinics.

The demand comes following an uptick in violent incidents, including two in recent days. Thursday night at midnight, three men attacked the security guards at the entrance to Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya. The attackers stole one guard’s gun and tried to use it. The guards managed to gain control of the situation, with the help of police officers who arrived from a local station, but required medical attention in the hospital’s emergency department for injuries sustained in the confrontation.

Also on Friday, family members of a patient verbally attacked, shoved, and injured a security guard at the Reut Rehabilitation Hospital in Tel Aviv. The family acted violently after their request to stay overnight was denied because it was not made ahead of time as is required. Four police cars arrived on the scene, the family eventually left the premises, and the guard did not require medical attention.

The Health Ministry has put into place several processes to upgrade security at hospitals and clinics. It has also devised a system to administer complaints about violence in the healthcare system and coordinate with legal authorities so that the complaints are investigated, and charges brought where relevant.

In an official statement, Health Minister Ariel Busso commented that such violence is especially alarming when medical staff are working ceaselessly to handle the large number of war wounded, as well as the many cases of winter respiratory diseases such as flu and COVID-19 crowding hospital wards and doctors’ offices.

“The violence is far too common and is significantly hurting the healthcare system and its ability to function. Violence cannot be an everyday occurrence. We will not accept any violent act and we will work to end this insufferable phenomenon,” he said.

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