On January 18, 2023, Marie-Fleur Agema, a member of the political party Partij voor de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom, PVV), said: “Violence against emergency workers is on the rise… One in five healthcare workers wants to leave their job in healthcare because of aggression and fear of aggression.” The claim turns out to be mostly true.
In a debate in the House of Representatives on 18 January 2023 about the increase in aggression and violence against hospital staff, PVV Member of Parliament Marie-Fleur Agema claimed that violence against emergency workers is increasing. She wants to achieve a minimum prison sentence for people who express aggression and/or violence against emergency workers. Agema substantiates this by referring to a study by a Dutch organization called ‘NU91’. She says one in five healthcare workers wants to leave their job in healthcare because of aggression and fear of aggression. NU91 has indeed investigated this by means of a recent survey among healthcare workers. The target group and the size of the research make it reliable.
Other previous studies by, for example, the Dutch organizations ‘GGZNieuws’ and ‘OLVG’ confirm that violence against healthcare staff is increasing. Agema says that violence against ‘emergency workers’ is rising, even though the research she refers to is talking about ‘healthcare workers’.
This is something else because, for example, the police are emergency workers as well, but they are not healthcare workers. This means that her substantiation does not fully reflect her claim. Agema also says that one in five care workers ‘wants’ to leave the care, although NU91’s research says that one in five healthcare workers is ‘considering’ leaving care.
Parts of Agema’s claim are questionable because of her word choice. But after examining multiple sources, we can conclude that it is true that violence and aggression against healthcare workers are increasing and that the research she mentions is also reliable. The numbers she gives match those of the study, which is the most recent study. Hence, the conclusion is mostly true.
RESEARCH | ARTICLE Annika Ettema, Ilse Wanschers
Leave your comments, thoughts and suggestions in the box below. Take note: your response is moderated.