* GPs face threats and attacks from abusive patients
*GPs must be able to transfer care of patients who pose health and safety risk
*HSE failing in their care for all parties
The National Association of General Practitioners is calling on the HSE to allow GPs to transfer the care of potentially dangerous patients to designated public health facilities. The GP union has written to the HSE as attacks on GPs continue to escalate unaddressed. GPs have reported physical assaults, verbal abuse and threats to themselves, their patients, and staff from these patients. The NAGP say health and safety must take priority and are seeking safe transfer of care to public health facilities where there are appropriate structures in place, including a security presence.
Mr Chris Goodey, NAGP Chief Executive, said, “Our members have serious concerns, not only for their own safety, but for that of their practice staff and other patients. 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”.
All patients have the right to access healthcare. The NAGP state that practice staff, GPs and other patients, however, have an equal right to safety. The NAGP is calling for 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.
Mr Goodey concluded, “Currently, it can take several months for the HSE to remove a patient even where multiple incidents have been reported. This timeline is unacceptably long given the serious nature of the complaints. A pathway needs to be developed for these patients that is timely and safe for all”.