Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Guidelines Will Put Stop to GP Attacks

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Guidelines Will Put Stop to GP Attacks

Article excerpt

Byline: By Amanda Crook

Survey reveals doctors are used to fear of verbal abuse

Half of doctors say they face violence in the work place, Health Correspondent Amanda Crook examines what can be done to tackle the problem.

Half of doctors believe that violence is a problem in their workplace, according to a shocking survey by the British Medical Association (BMA).

One in three - both GPs and hospital doctors - say they have actually experienced some form of violence from a patient in the last year.

Of those, 95pc said they had been the victim of verbal abuse, while 44pc had been threatened and 22pc suffered physical assaults.

More worryingly, doctors in the North-East say they have become so used to these incidents that often they don't bother to report them.

Many blame delays and inadequacies in the NHS for provoking otherwise rational patients into furious rages.

Dr Ian Winterton, chairman of the North-East local medical committees (LMC), has personal experience of violence at his practice in Gosforth, Newcastle.

He was stunned when a patient became upset and ripped his surgery door from its hinges.

But he points to an even more worrying case of a female doctor who was threatened at knife point by a patient who had waited for her outside her Newcastle surgery 18 months ago.

Dr Winterton suggests that on average every GP experiences a "distressing" incident every couple of months but says verbal abuse is commonplace.

He said: "People should not have to face this as part of their work but it's on the increase.

"You would find very few GPs who have not experienced violence at work in the last two or three years.

"It's born out of frustration - if someone comes into the surgery to complain they have to wait months for an operation or they have not been given a date for an operation they need - we are normally just as frustrated. …

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