HSE should have designated facilities for ‘dangerous’ patients, GP conference hears
Doctors reporting physical assaults, verbal abuse and threats to themselves, their staff and patients from other patients
The annual conference of the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) heard all patients had a right to access healthcare but that practice staff and other patients also had an equal right to safety. Photograph: Getty Images
The HSE should have designated facilities for the treatment of dangerous patients, the chairman of the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) has said.
Dr Andy Jordan said it was not acceptable to have dangerous patients in medical surgeries.
Doctors at the NAGP annual conference in Cork passed a motion calling for the establishment of a Violent Patient Scheme. Such a scheme is already in place in the UK.
The conference also heard GPs surgeries should no longer have patients with prior or potential violent histories assigned to them by the HSE.
The organisation’s annual report said attacks on GPs continued to escalate unaddressed.
It said GPs had reported physical assaults, verbal abuse and threats to themselves, their staff and patients from 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.”
He said the NAGP was receiving reports of physical and verbal assaults and damage to property.
“The HSE is failing in its care for both parties.”
Mr Goodey said all patients had a right to access healthcare but that practice staff and other patients also had an equal right to safety.
Separately the annual conference was told that the NAGP had recorded a small financial surplus of €3,750 in in the nine months to last December.
The NAGP had recorded a deficit of €61,900 in the previous 15 months.
Mr Goodey said the association had put in place a cost-savings programme. He said it had closed one of its offices and he had taken a pay cut of €24,000.