Nearly two-thirds of South Korean healthcare workers are worried about hospital-acquired infections, a poll showed Tuesday.
According to the survey, 65.3 percent of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other support personnel said there is a high chance of infections taking place in hospitals.
It also showed that 81 percent of healthcare workers said if infections do occur in hospitals it can lead to serious consequences.
The survey, taken by the state-run National Evidence-based Healthcare Collaborating Agency, was conducted on 465 medical professionals in five hospitals in Seoul from February to March.
"The poll was taken before the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreak and shows that healthcare workers were already fully aware of the risks associated with infections taking place in hospitals," NECA said.
Of the healthcare workers who expressed concerns about hospital-acquired infections, 21.9 percent warned there is a very high risk of disease being spread within medical facilities.
Only 8.8 percent said there was a slight risk of infections with 25.6 percent saying danger was moderate.
Forty-one percent of the respondents attributed in-hospital risks to a general shortage of manpower, followed by 11 percent who cited carelessness.
The healthcare institute, which also polled 478 patient supporters and people receiving treatment, said awareness of in-hospital infection was much lower among them than professional medical personnel.
Only 32 percent of them were worried about hospital-acquired infections.
The poll also showed 28.5 percent of patients and their supporters, who are usually family members, thought there is a risk of accidents and infections occurring at large hospitals, compared to 46.8 percent who thought problems can take place in smaller clinics.
The difference in numbers show how much faith ordinary people place in big hospitals in South Korea, which have taken flak for exacerbating the MERS spread. (Yonhap)