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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs fear new referral rule sends patients into void

GPs' safety is being put at risk because health and social care boards are

failing to commission 'violent patient' schemes. Only one of the four local health boards in the province has met its legal obligation.

GPs said the lack of action had forced some practices to ask police to attend consul-tations with patients with a history of violence.

LMC representatives unanimously passed a motion calling on the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to force all four boards to set up a service.

Dr Alan McCullough, a GP in Newtownabbey, County Antrim, said a community nurse was recently chased down the road by a patient with a knife.

'At present there's limited implementation throughout the province. It is putting all staff in primary care at risk,' he said.

Only the Eastern Board had done 'fairly well' in commissioning a violent patients directed enhanced service, GPs said.

Practices in the rest of the province were relying on word of mouth to warn of patients' violent histories.

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