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Doctors 'don't report assaults'

10th January 2008

New research has revealed that as many as one in three doctors were physically or verbally assaulted last year.


However, the British Medical Association study of 591 doctors across the country also showed that most doctors did not report the incident.

It found that 10% had been physically attacked and of these, 5% were seriously injured with a third of them sustaining minor injuries.

Doctors said that dissatisfaction with the service was the main reason cited for the attacks, including frustration with waiting times and being refused medication. This has doubled as a cause of violence since 2003, when the BMA last conducted the survey.

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said: “These are worrying figures - both in terms of the potential numbers involved and the fact that so few doctors tend to report violence.

“We hope that this is not because they feel the problem is not being taken seriously. Ministers have repeatedly stated that there should be zero tolerance to violence of any sort in the NHS. We heartily agree.

“The mechanisms must be there to minimise the likelihood of attacks, to support staff who experience them, and to ensure that anyone who commits an act of violence is dealt with appropriately.?

Being punched, kicked, bitten and spat at were included among physical assaults and that survey found that female doctors were more likely to experience violence in the workplace than males (37% compared with 27%).

The NHS Security Management Service said it was working with the BMA to try to tackle the problem.


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Article Information

Title: Doctors 'don't report assaults'
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 5279
Date Added: 10th Jan 2008


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