To determine the prevalence of physical violence and threats against health workers and the aftermath in tertiary, secondary and primary care facilities in China.
5 tertiary hospitals, 8 secondary hospitals and 32 primary care facilities located in both urban and rural areas of Zhejiang Province, China, were chosen as the study sites.
A total of 4862 health workers who have contact with patients completed a survey from July 2016 to July 2017.
The prevalence of physical violence, threats and Yi Nao, specific forms of physical violence and their aftermath were measured by a self-designed and verified questionnaire. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to examine the association between perceived organisational encouragement of reporting workplace violence (WPV) and physical violence, threats and Yi Nao after controlling for age, sex, level of facility, professional ranking and type of health worker.
Among all respondents, 224 (4.6%) were physically attacked and 848 (17.4%) experienced threats in the past year. Respondents in secondary hospitals were more likely to experience physical violence (AOR=3.29, 95% CI 2.21 to 4.89), threats (AOR=1.61, 95% CI 1.32 to 1.98) and Yi Nao (AOR=2.47, 95% CI 2.10 to 2.91), compared with primary care providers. Lack of organisational policies to report WPV was associated with higher likelihood of physical violence (AOR=3.64, 95% CI 2.57 to 5.18) and threats (AOR=2.21, 95% CI 1.76 to 2.78). Among physical violence cases, only 29.1% reported the attack to police mainly because most felt it useless to do so (58.8%). Only 25.7% were investigated and 72.4% of attackers received no punishment. Of all those attacked or threatened, 59.4% wanted to quit current post and 76.0% were fearful of dealing with urgent or severe cases.