Rationale, aims and objectives: Occupational violence is increasingly recognized as a problem in general practice, and has been suggested as adversely affecting general practitioners' (GPs) provision of services to patients. The aim of this study was to investigate the association of experiences of violence and perceptions of risk of violence with provision of after-hours GP care and home visits.
Method: A questionnaire-based cross-sectional survey of GPs in three Australian Urban Divisions of General Practice was used.
Results: Five hundred and twenty-eight GPs completed the survey (response rate 49%). Of the GPs surveyed, 63.7% were subjected to some form of violence in the previous 12 months. Risk of violence influenced 10.2% of GPs' delivery of in-hours home visits and 22.0% of GPs' delivery of after-hours home visits. A further 4.7% of GPs reported not performing after-hours home visits at all during the previous 12 months because of safety concerns. On logistic regression, gender, location of practice and country of medical qualification were significantly associated with provision of in-hours and after-hours home visits. Experience of violence during the previous 12 months was not significantly associated with provision of home visits.
Conclusions: This study's finding of GPs' self-reported restriction of practice and withdrawal from home visits and after-hours calls in response to risk of violence represents a significant primary health care issue. GPs' decision to provide after-hours calls and home visits is complex, and the finding of lack of significant association of experiences of violence with provision of home visits and after-hours calls is likely to be due to the cross-sectional nature of the study.