A GP practice has reported a man to the police after he locked himself in a GP consulting room, demanding a face-to-face diagnosis of his child’s conjunctivitis.
The incident, which saw a female GP trapped in her consulting room, came after the child’s parents had refused to accept a remote diagnosis on Monday at Manor View Practice in Watford.
The news comes as the Government last week said it would fund ‘panic buttons’ to be installed in GP practices, amid rising levels of abuse.
The mother had sent in a photo of the child’s eye condition and received a diagnosis of conjunctivitis and an assurance that they would receive a telephone call at 3pm to check.
GP at the surgery Dr Ketan Bhatt said: ‘The mum was quite aggressive just getting to that point because she obviously wanted a face-to-face consultation, which didn’t happen.’
Instead of waiting for the call, the family turned up to the surgery at 3pm, where they were asked to sit in the waiting room until a doctor could come out and talk to them.
The family then ‘marched past the reception’, checking which doors were open. ‘It happened to be a young female GP’s’, said Dr Bhatt.
The GP offered to help, at which point the father came into the room and locked the door, refusing to leave until his child had been seen to.
The GP then raised the practice’s internal alarm. Two GP partners dealt with the situation and the child, and then asked the family to leave.
Manor View Practice have reported the matter to the police.
Dr Bhatt said: ‘I’ve been a GP for 15 years, I’ve dealt with semi-violent patients, but not this. This is unusual and to be locked in a room… that’s ridiculous.’
He praised his colleague: ‘She handled the situation brilliantly. She’s obviously quite upset. We are supporting her and staff have rallied round her and our local primary care community in Watford have been absolutely incredible in helping us out.’
It transpired after the incident that the man was not registered at the practice.
‘As it turns out, the father is not our patient. So we can’t remove him. And seeing as he is the one doing the threatening behaviour… then it comes down to the mum, who was threatening, but on the phone, and probably these days sadly no more abusive than what most of us deal with all the time at the moment.
‘We have requested for her to be removed but I don’t know what’s going to come of that,’ said Dr Bhatt.
It follows a GP and two practice staff members being barricaded into their surgery in Redbridge for over two hours earlier this month while awaiting the police’s response to a violent patient.
Last week, a GP practice in Staffordshire was forced to close for two days earlier this month after staff felt compelled to walk out due to verbally abusive behaviour from patients.
Meanwhile, a man charged with assault after attacking and injuring four GP practice staff in September is due to appear at Manchester Crown Court next week.
Health secretary Sajid Javid said GP practice ‘panic buttons’ could be funded out of a new £5m security fund as part of a new campaign to tackle patient abuse.