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Sex offender ‘targeted female GP practice’

By Steve Nowottny

GPs have called for better communication on potential risks from patients, after an all-female GP practice was deliberately targeted by a sex offender who tried to register as a patient.

The startling disclosure came as LMC leaders in Scotland called for better communication systems to be put in place to alert practices to violent patients.

Dr Maureen Smith, a GP in Port Glasgow, Renfrewshire, told delegates at the Scottish LMCs conference that she was aware of 'anecdotal evidence of sex offenders trying to register with an all-female practice.'

She said she was told of the incident, which occurred in Glasgow, last year. The patient is understood to have subsequently been moved to a different practice.

Delegates at the LMCs conference overwhelmingly backed a motion calling 'for a secure system to be put in place to allow practices to be informed when patients with a dangerous and violent background are assigned or try to register.'

Dr Smith, who helped establish a Violent Patient Scheme at her practice several years ago after two GPs received a 'credible death threat', said it was important to balance patients' rights with those of healthcare workers.

'I accept a right to a degree of privacy - but ourselves and our staff have a right to safety in the workplace,' she said.

Speaking after the debate, she added that extended hours surgeries had presented particular safety concerns for many GPs in Glasgow.

'Some bigger health centres pay for extra security,' she said.

Check out our blog from the conference: Scottish LMCs conference: As it happened

Scottish LMCs conference