Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 39, Issue 5, May 2010

Patient initiated aggression and violence in Australian general practice

Hagen Tuschke Laura Forrest Rhian Parker Kelsey Hegarty
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Aggressive and violent behaviour by patients, or their relatives or friends, toward general practice staff is a matter of national concern. Forms of this behaviour include verbal and physical abuse, property damage, theft, stalking, sexual harassment and sexual abuse.
Australian data investigating patient initiated aggression and violence in general practice are limited. Findings should be interpreted with caution due to methodological limitations. The lack of national data needs to be addressed.
Four regional Australian studies and one national New Zealand study were identified for comparison. These studies provided varied data on the prevalence of patient aggression and violence perpetrated toward general practitioners. None of the quantitative studies included other general practice staff.

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