OVER three out of four GPs (79 per cent) have felt threatened by a patient at some point in their career and over a quarter within the last year, according to a survey by GP magazine.
Nearly 20 per cent of the 610 GPs in the survey reported being attacked by a patient at some point in their careers and over 10 per cent reported attacks on staff within the past 12 months. Over 90 per cent of GPs believe that they should be warned when patients convicted of violent crime register with practices on release from prison.
Current regulations do not require GPs to be informed when patients have criminal convictions for violence. Patients can only be referred to violent patient schemes when they have threatened violence in primary care, even if having been banned from other healthcare services.
Deputy chairman of the GPC Dr Richard Vautrey believes that violent patient schemes need to be more accessible. He said: "There must be proper resources available and easily accessible violent patient schemes in every area, so those particularly difficult patients can receive appropriate care with the right level of support and protection for the individual who is providing that care."
But he added it is important not to place barriers to healthcare access for patients with prison records. "We need to be very careful not to pre-judge a situation and almost make it impossible for patients to register when their behaviour has been questioned."