MDDUS comments on BMJ article into violence against GPs

The British Medical Journal has today (Wednesday 1 June) published an article reporting that violent incidents recorded by police forces at UK general practices have doubled in the last five years.

Commenting on this, Chris Kenny, chief executive officer at MDDUS, said:

"The findings of this investigation make for shocking reading. Sadly, they underline what members have told us about their experiences of the last two years of the pandemic.

“We carried out a survey recently of almost 2,000 members. More than three-quarters of GPs said they had faced an increase in verbal abuse or aggression from their patients. Of that number, 83 per cent said they felt more stressed than they did in 2020.

“Worryingly, one in two said they were considering early retirement or leaving the profession altogether, citing increased workloads, mental health and wellbeing and staff shortages as the main reasons.

“No one should have to go to work fearing verbal abuse or physical violence - especially those who dedicate their working lives to caring for others.

“GPs should not find themselves at the sharp end of their patients’ frustrations with the demands and challenges facing the health service more generally.

“Doctors who worked at the frontline of the pandemic, putting their health and their families’ health at risk in doing so, urgently need policymakers to give them recognition, reassurance and realism so they feel supported as they reset their relationship with patients.

“Policymakers’ decision-making must also factor in the clear connection between adequate funding and support for primary care services, health professionals, and patient safety.”

ENDS

The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS) is a mutual organisation that protects the professional interests of more than 54,000 doctors and dentists across the United Kingdom, offering access to indemnity, support and legal advice.

For further information please contact Alison Hardie, head of public affairs and strategic communications, on ahardie@mddus.com or on 07501 421398.

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