Rural general practitioner experience of work-related violence in australia

Aust J Rural Health. 2003 Oct;11(5):231-6.


Aims: To identify prevalence, precipitants and risk factors of violence and aggression towards Australian rural general practitioners (GPs).

Method: Six focus groups were held with GPs from rural Western Australia and from two rural Divisions of General Practice in New South Wales and Victoria. A questionnaire was developed and all GPs in these three geographical areas were surveyed.

Results: The survey results showed that 73% of respondents had experienced some form of violent or aggressive behaviour from patients and 20% had been subjected to physical abuse during their careers as rural doctors. Physical abuse mostly occurred after hours and in a hospital or multipurpose centre. Violence and aggression were often associated with patient drug and alcohol intoxication and psychological disorders.

Conclusion: Workplace violence and aggression against rural GPs is a frequent problem. Adequate funding and safe facilities for after-hours care and training for GPs in managing dangerous situations should be provided.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthropology, Cultural
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New South Wales / epidemiology
  • Occupational Exposure* / adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure* / statistics & numerical data
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*
  • Physicians, Family / statistics & numerical data
  • Prevalence
  • Professional Practice Location / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Health Services* / statistics & numerical data
  • Security Measures / organization & administration
  • Social Behavior
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Victoria / epidemiology
  • Violence / psychology*
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data
  • Western Australia / epidemiology
  • Workplace / psychology
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data