More than half of Manitoba physicians experienced abuse last month: Doctors Manitoba

A new survey is showing a disturbing trend for healthcare professionals across the province, with more and more doctors reporting instances of abuse.

The survey was done by Doctors Manitoba and polled around 4,000 physicians in the province about safety and mistreatment.

The results are still preliminary but show more than half of the doctors were the target of verbal abuse, threats, harassment or physical assault in the past month.

The physicians noted these types of incidents are happening more often than a year ago.

“I get it, right? People are frustrated, but again, channelling that fear and frustration and anger towards the very people that are there trying to help you is not acceptable,” said Dr. Kristjan Thompson, president of Doctors Manitoba.

The survey found more than half of the instances of abuse were pandemic related.

Doctors Manitoba said the incidents are more frequent in rural areas, specifically in the Northern, Interlake and Southern regions.

A statement to CTV News from a Southern Health spokesperson said, “We know that our communities and the patients we serve are also grateful for the efforts of nurses, doctors and others on the front lines.”

“However, as communities and families have debated vaccines and public health orders, and as COVID has stretched into a third and now a fourth wave, we recognize that everyone is tired, and many are frustrated.”

“We would like to take this opportunity to gently remind everyone on the importance to remain kind and respectful in all health care encounters.”

Health and Seniors Care Minister Audrey Gordon spoke about the problem at a news conference Friday morning.

She said abuse towards physicians is not acceptable and won’t be tolerated.

“We have to take these threats seriously. So if that means bringing in law enforcement and identifying the individuals, we need to do that because this behaviour is unacceptable in all forms,” said Gordon.

Gordon said she will be speaking to the justice minister about possible solutions in the coming days. 

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