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GPs in top three for NHS violence risks

Increasing violence has put general practice in the top three most dangerous working environments in the NHS.

A BMA study has revealed one in three GPs has been either physically or verbally attacked at work in the past year.

Only A&E and psychiatry reported more attacks.

The survey of almost 1,000 GPs and hospital doctors also found GPs were most likely to believe violence had increased in the past year.

The BMA hit out at PCTs for failing to tackle the problem, revealing one in three trusts has defied Government orders to set up a scheme to deal with violent patients.

Professor Anthony Maden, clinical director of Broadmoor hospital, told a conference on NHS workplace hazards that home visits and unrealistic patient expectations placed GPs at particular risk. He said: 'Contact with the public combined with badly structured situations increases the likelihood of assault.'

At the launch of the BMA findings, Derbyshire LMC secretary Dr John Grenville said it was worrying GPs believed the situation was getting worse.

He said he had been verbally and physically abused at his Derby practice, including being punched in the face by a patient.

'Waiting times are down, expectations are higher and patients expect more. But

that does not excuse violent behaviour.'

Dr Nicholas Vites, a GP in Oldham who was attacked by a neo-Nazi patient in July, said his surgery had been vandalised last week. He said a

'juvenile' feigning an injury distracted staff while an accomplice ransacked his office, before fleeing.

Dr Vites said: 'This is a problem for all of society and

I welcome a large public awareness campaign on this

issue.'

BMA's four-point plan to address violence

 · Improvements in training GPs and surgery staff in dealing with

violent situations

 · Better partnership with local police and media

 · A promotional campaign highlighting a zero-tolerance stance on violence

 · Compulsory recording of violence incidents and follow-up counselling

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