Domestic violence training helps GPs

A GP trained to deal with domestic violence as part of a trial referred up to eight patients as a result.

Dr Andrew Blythe, from Bristol, found the primary care Identification and Referral to Improve Safety of women experiencing partner violence (IRIS) trial 'extremely useful'.

'I don't think I had any training in medical school or at postgraduate level so it's worth learning about,' he said.

An IRIS advocate-educator delivered the training and also took referrals from clinicians during the trial. She helped doctors identify patients experiencing violence and how to talk about it, said Dr Blythe.

'They might not present with domestic violence but instead abdominal pain, depression or anxiety. I might have thought about domestic violence before but the training puts it to the forefront of your mind.

'It taught us how to ask the questions and bring up the possibility of domestic violence and how I could give some simple advice and support,' he said.

All his GP colleagues identified some patients who were experiencing abuse.

'Some of those people we had known about for some time, either we suspected violence or they had mentioned it, but we had not broached the subject in detail,' he said.

Training, involving two two-hour sessions, was delivered to doctors and nurses in 48 practices in Bristol and Hackney, London.

GPletters@haymarket.com

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