One in three doctors has been a victim of physical or verbal attack in the past year, research has revealed.
A survey of 600 doctors by the British Medical Association (BMA) showed that one-third had been abused in some way in the past 12 months.
One in 10 had been physically attacked, with violent acts including biting, kicking, punching and stabbing. Most doctors did not report these incidents to their employers, the report found.
Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of council at the BMA, said: “These are worrying figures – both in terms of the potential numbers involved and the fact that so few doctors to report violence. We hope that this is not because they feel the problem is not being taken seriously.
“Ministers have repeatedly stated that there should be zero tolerance to violence of any sort in the NHS. We heartily agree. The mechanisms must be there to minimise the likelihood of attacks, to support staff who experience them, and to ensure that anyone who commits an act of violence is dealt with appropriately,” Meldrum said.