Sex is Not Healthcare, Union Says

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Published: 11 March 2010, By our news stafff

A Dutch healthcare union has kicked off a campaign to brace nurses and other caretakers against sexual requests made by patients. Its motto: “I draw the line here”.

The campaign instigated by the union named Nu’91 comes as a reaction to a recent incident between a 42-year old man and his new 24-year-old home caretaker. A muscle disorder has left the man unable to move anything but his mouth and eyes. The man asked his new caretaker, a student, to relief him of his natural urges, saying that his other seven caretakers did the same for him. The young women saw two of her colleagues do so indeed. When she refused, her patient called her unfit for healthcare.

The union was most shocked by the reaction of a care dependents interest group, Per Saldo. When the incident became public last weekend, Aline Saers, the group’s managing director, expressed sympathy for the man. “They are free to ask,” she said. “You are free to refuse.”

Saers has since said she had not meant to condone the man’s request. “Sexual services are not part of a caretaker's tasks,” she explained.

A client can discuss his sexual needs with a caretaking agency, Saers said, so that it can call upon a specialised escort agency – legal in the Netherlands - for instance. “Sexual help can be so soothing. Some municipalities arrange it,” Saers added.