THE number of assaults on health personnel in Andalucia last year was the lowest since 2016, a new study reveals.

Published on March 9 by Sindicato Medico Andaluz Sevilla (SAS), the report recorded the number of physical and non-physical assaults (agresiones) on the trade union’s workers across the autonomous community. 

Overall, there were 1042 assaults on SAS staff in 2020, of which 866 were not physical and 176 were.

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ASSAULTS IN ANDALUCIA: Blue = total; orange = non-physical; grey = physical. All graphics from SAS website.

Every Andalucian province registered the same pattern – except for Cordoba, where there were 10 more acts of physical aggression than there were last year, and Almeria, where non-physical assaults rose from 54 in 2019 to 61 in 2020.

Most of the assaults took place in Sevilla (279) and Malaga (186), but the rate per 100,000 inhabitants was similar across provinces.

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SIMILAR: Rate of assaults per 100,000 inhabitants across provinces in Andalucia

Although the report noted the difficulty of attributing the drop to a single cause, it did say that ‘the pandemic and the consequent decrease in face-to-face consultations in primary care or scheduled activity in hospitals may have had an influence.’

It also mentioned the work of the Administration, the pressure from trade unions and the media and the actions of judges and public order forces as possible influencing factors.

The main victims are primary health personnel, who are over four times more likely to be assaulted than non-sanitary workers.

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SEX OF AGGRESSOR: Total assaults (left column); physical assaults (right column); orange = male; blue = female

70% of the victims in 2020 were women, though 71% of the workforce is female. 

Nonetheless, the report emphasises that the ‘sex of the aggressor and the victim undoubtedly contributes to the higher proportion of women assaulted among health personnel, regardless of the composition of the workforce.’

In total, men carry out 60% of assaults on health workers.

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