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Three quarters of GPs report rising patient abuse, MDO warns

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Three in four GPs have reported facing increasing patient abuse last year, according to a major survey by a medical defence organisation.

The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS) surveyed almost 2,000 members across the UK, including 668 GPs, about their experiences last year compared with 2020.

It revealed that 76% of GPs reported an increase in verbal abuse from patients towards them and their practice staff. Half of these (38%) said this had ‘significantly increased’ and the other half that it had ‘somewhat increased’ throughout 2021.

Female GPs were more likely to face verbal abuse or aggression than their male counterparts, with 81% reporting an increase in this compared with 72% of their male colleagues.

The survey found that this has led to a ‘huge increase in work-related stress’, MDDUS said.

Among GPs who experienced verbal abuse or aggression in the workplace, 83% said they felt ‘more stressed’ than they did in 2020.

MDDUS chief executive Chris Kenny said: ‘The pandemic has stretched our healthcare professionals to the limit. For those at the very frontline, it is clear now that the levels of stress have reached an almost unsustainable point.

‘GPs urgently need recognition, reassurance and realism to support them so they can reset their relationship with patients.’

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Source: Pulse, 22 April 2022

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