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Israel and Gaza conflict: all parties must respect and protect access to health care

18 Oct 2023

The RCN stands with other global health organisations to condemn every attack on health care workers and their patients.

Palestinian ambulance photographed in Bethlehem in 2019

As the conflict in Israel and Gaza continues, the RCN is calling for all parties to respect access to health care and protect civilians.

RCN Chief Nurse Professor Nicola Ranger said: “We continue to watch the unfolding events in Israel and Gaza in horror. This week, we have seen more abhorrent, inhumane atrocities committed against civilians and now health care workers.

“Nursing staff and their colleagues have been killed or injured working in desperate circumstances trying to care for patients and provide continued access to treatment.

“Under the Geneva Conventions the killing of civilians is prohibited and the sick and wounded must be cared for. Nursing staff must be able to work without fear of violence.

“At the RCN, we stand with other global health organisations to condemn every attack on health care workers and their patients and call for all parties in the conflict to abide by their legal obligations under international humanitarian law. This means that they must protect access to health care, which is a human right, and ensure the safety of civilians and health care workers.”  

We know many RCN members will be concerned for family and friends in the area, and many more will find news coming out of the Middle East distressing. The RCN is here to help 365 days a year with advice and support for all members.

Nicola added: “This is an emotionally fraught time and there may be different views on the conflict. Members are reminded to be respectful of one another’s perspectives and continue to work within the NMC code. The RCN is committed to providing an exceptional standard of care, advice and support to all members who seek help from us, regardless of their political or religious views.”

Page last updated - 15/11/2023