Attacks on GPs ‘continue to escalate unaddressed’

GPs who have been attacked must be given the power to transfer dangerous patients to secure designated public health facilities, instead of seeing their care moved onto another doctor’s practice, a health union has warned.

The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) has written to the HSE as it says attacks on GPs “continue to escalate unaddressed”. It says GPs have reported physical assaults, verbal abuse, and threats to themselves, their patients, and staff from these patients.

“Our members have serious concerns, not only for their own safety, but for that of their practice staff and other patients,”NAGP chief executive Chris Goodey said.

“Dangerous patients with drug, alcohol, and mental health challenges who have been removed from one GP’s practice are being assigned to another practice without any consultation with the GP and without providing the patient’s history. They have no warning of the health and safety risk the patient poses until an incident occurs.

“They are not being given the support required to provide appropriate care. As a result, the NAGP is receiving reports of physical and verbal assaults; Gardaí intervention, and damage to property. The HSE is failing in its care for both parties,” Mr Goodey said.

The NAGP said it wants GPs to have the right to prioritise health and safety in their practices and safely transfer the care of these patients who are a potential danger to other patients and staff.

“Currently, it can take several months for the HSE to remove a patient even where multiple incidents have been reported,” Mr Goodey said.

“This timeline is unacceptably long given the serious nature of the complaints,” he said.

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