Call for GPs to be warned about violent patients

A GROUP of GPs is leading calls for doctors to be informed if patients have a history of violence.

The move follows an incident in Manchester where a practice reportedly registered a new patient and agreed to a home visit without being told he had previously stabbed a GP. The man had recently been released from a violent patients unit.

An article in GP reported that Manchester LMC is in discussions with NHS Manchester to ensure GPs are notified if a patient has a history of violence. Current rules do not require PCTs to tell practices of a patient’s past if they are deemed to no longer pose a threat.

But Manchester LMC chairman Dr John Hughes said PCTs have a duty of care to their contractors and GPs should be warned about violent patients. He believes an electronic flag should be placed on the record of any patient with a history of violence.

He told GP: “It is possible because everything else can be flagged up on their records. If they move practices then their notes can take a month to reach the new practice. They are put on the system by the PCT.”

The BMA’s GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman, who has himself been assaulted and threatened by patients, said that rules must be followed to ensure those released from violent patient units no longer pose a threat. But he added: “If they are assessed and they are deemed no longer a threat, then GPs shouldn’t be told. If a conviction is spent, it is spent.”

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