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The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) has claimed that attacks on GPs, such as reported incidents of physical assaults, verbal abuse and threats to themselves, their patients, and their staff from these patients, have continued to escalate.

This has prompted the GP union to call on the HSE to allow GPs to transfer the care of potentially dangerous patients to designated public health facilities.

The NAGP have maintained that health and safety must be the considered priority in these cases and is 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”.

The NAGP has highlighted that, although all patients have the right to access healthcare, practice staff, GPs, and other patients, equally have the right to safety.

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”.