Longer hours increase risk of violence

GPs who work long hours run a greater risk of being verbally abused or physically attacked by a patient.

Research carried out by academics in Australia and published in the British Journal of General Practice questioned 216 GPs and found that those who had experienced an attack work more hours each week than those who had not.

The average working week of those who had been physically attacked was found to be 51 hours, 14 hours a week more than the average working week of those who had not.

Also in terms of verbal abuse the average working week of victims was 39 hours, compared with just 35 hours for those who had never experienced such abuse.

The findings are released as the DoH pushes for half of practices in England to extend their hours.
Last week GP reported that nothing would persuade 25.8 per cent of GPs to extend hours.

Of the 216 GPs surveyed, 57 per cent had experienced either violence or aggression at work, of those 44 per cent had experienced verbal abuse, 22 per cent had felt intimidated and 3 percent had been physically attacked.

The research also found that length of service as a GP also helps to limit the risk of aggression from patients. Of those who had been intimidated by a patient the average length of time worked as a GP was 16 years, compared with an average of 21 years among those who had not.

In addition singlehanders were less likely to experience verbal abuse, with 89 per cent of those in group practices saying they had been verbally abused, compared with 79 per cent of singlehanders.

GPletters@haymarket.com


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