Forum: Crack down on verbal abuse of healthcare workers

I read the report on front-line healthcare workers being verbally abused by anxious patients with sadness (Healthcare workers struggle as Covid-19 patients flood emergency rooms, Feb 25).

This pandemic brings out the best and the worst of people.

Many healthcare workers, especially front-line staff, have been receiving verbal abuse from patients and their families more frequently during the pandemic.

I hope the public understands that the sheer rise in patient load from Covid-19 infection will affect the medical care of both Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients.

Manpower is further stretched by doctors and nurses testing positive for Covid-19.

Studies have shown that healthcare workers receiving abuse from patients or their relatives have poorer morale, poorer mental health, higher absenteeism and resignation, and poorer clinical outcomes.

It is high time the Government took an active role in cracking down on abuse of this kind.

Consider punitive measures such as imposing a fine or blacklisting abusive patients and relatives.

Desmond Wai (Dr)

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