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CEOM and European medical organisations publish statement

Dr José Santos, President, Council of European Medical Orders (CEOM), European Union.

CEOM and the European medical organisations have published a statement highlighting violence against healthcare professionals and calling on governments to ensure staff have access to safe working environments and measures to support their wellbeing and reduce burnout.

In 2021 the World Health Organisation celebrates the International Year of Health and Care Workers. Despite this, there has been an increase in physical, emotional, and psychological violence against healthcare professionals. This is demonstrated in the alarming findings of the European Federation of Salaried Doctors (FEMS) survey on burnout of physicians in Europe.

European medical organisations strongly urge governments to reconsider how healthcare systems value the wellbeing of healthcare professionals in their daily practice together with the wellbeing of the patients they serve every day and the community of employees who work with them. Medicine should be, and must remain, a safe place to work.

The ongoing pandemic has reaffirmed the central role of physicians in ensuring the stability and wellbeing of our societies. On the 12March of this year, European medical organisations marked the second European Awareness Day on Violence against Doctors and other Healthcare Professionals and committed themselves to acknowledging and addressing those factors contributing to violence against doctors including exhaustion and burnout.

They are calling on European governments and health authorities to provide all healthcare staff with a safe working environment and adequate mechanisms to prevent any type of violence so as to decrease the risk of exhaustion and burnout for all healthcare professionals, and to deploy all necessary means to protect the physical and psychological integrity of healthcare workers during this pandemic and beyond.