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The waiting game

Three-quarters of doctors have been assaulted or threatened at work

More than three-quarters of doctors say they have been assaulted or threatened by a patient or their relative while practising.

In a survey of around 400 doctors conducted by, 78% said they had experienced assault, threats, or both.

A total of 34% (134 doctors) reported experiencing assault, while 59% (233) said they had been threatened, the poll found.

Pulse previously revealed two thirds of GPs had experienced abuse from patients, including verbal, written or physical.

In a statement, said: ‘Unfortunately, it seems that the scale and occurrence of threats, violence and assaults have become a stark reality to UK doctors.’

It continued: ‘Safety fears, limited training for staff and a tendency for concerns raised by doctors to not be escalated to a higher authority are all familiar anecdotes from doctors who have been verbally abused or assaulted by patients or their relatives while at work.

‘Doctors should not be made to feel vulnerable, intimidated or in danger at work or while consulting with patients.’

This comes after a patient - who burst into a GP’s consultation room and shot him with a crossbow - was found guilty of attempted murder.


Readers' comments (3)

  • David Banner

    If we’re including verbal abuse, surely the figure should be nearer 100%. Myself and many colleagues I know suffer this several times a year.
    In terms of physical abuse, a disgruntled 70 year old swung a punch at me once (he missed), various bored youths have thrown stones at me, and my car has been frequently vandalised, but most GPs I know have suffered far worse. Sadly it comes with the territory these days.

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  • The poor response of the faceless NHS bureaucrats who denied us permission to off list a patient, who had made threats against whilst seeing another nhs speciality, left a particular impression on me.
    We told them we were not asking for permission and we would not see him pending their ‘blessing’ but it wasted a lot of administrative time and left a bitter taste in my mouth.

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  • Society as a whole has deteriorated due to weak laws and poor enforcement and GPs are suffering due partly to this and partly to the NHS culture where NHS staff has no rights. Perfectly set up to be punching bags or these days cross bow attacks.

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