GPs demand to be told of patients' violent past

GPs are demanding to be told if patients have a history of violence after a Manchester practice registered a patient and agreed to a home visit, unaware that the person had previously stabbed a GP.

Dr John Hughes: warn GPs of patients' violent past
Dr John Hughes: warn GPs of patients' violent past

Manchester LMC is currently in discussions with NHS Manchester to ensure GPs are notified if a patient has a history of violence.

Talks began after Manchester GPs were not notified that a patient who had previously stabbed a GP had been released from the city's violent patients unit. The patient subsequently registered at a practice and requested a home visit.

Under current rules, there is no requirement for PCTs to inform GP practices of a patient's violent past if they have been assessed and found no longer to pose a threat.

But Manchester LMC chairman Dr John Hughes said that PCTs have a duty of care to their contractors and GPs should be told about any patient who has a history of violence.

Dr Hughes has called for a flag to be put on patients' electronic records. He said: ‘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.’

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman, who has been assaulted twice by patients and had his wife and children threatened by a patient, said: ‘GPs are worried that they are having patients who are still violent dumped on them. We need to ensure the rules are being followed and that people are not violent anymore before they are released from violent patients units.'

But Dr Buckman 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.

‘Violent people range from permanently violent to ones who have just snapped and won’t do it again. I would take on someone from a violent patients unit, as long as they behave themselves.’

A spokesperson from Manchester PCT was unavailable to comment.

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