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Aust Fam Physician. 2010 May;39(5):323-6.

Patient initiated aggression and violence in Australian general practice.

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Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute, Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.



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.


To determine the prevalence of patient initiated aggression and violence in Australian general practice a review of the literature was undertaken. Electronic databases were searched for relevant articles from 1989-2009.


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.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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