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

Rural general practitioner experience of work-related violence in australia.

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Discipline of General Practice, School of Medical Practice and Population Health, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.



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


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.


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.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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