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More than third of doctors say they have suffered abuse during Covid pandemic

More than a third of doctors in Ireland reveal they have suffered physical or verbal abuse during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic
Marie Louise McConville

MORE than a third of doctors in Ireland have revealed they have suffered physical or verbal abuse from patients or their relatives during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The survey by the Medical Protection Society (MPS) also found that a further 7 per cent have been targeted with abuse outside a medical setting, with some saying they have been shouted at in the street.

Two out of five doctors overall said their mental wellbeing is worse compared to the start of the pandemic.

One told of being "assaulted a number of times in the Covid-19 emergency department", while another "experienced aggression from relatives of a cancer patient whose cancer surgery has been cancelled for the second time due to Covid-19 related bed shortages”.

Another revealed that people had been "calling to my home and banging on my door, as they are too afraid to go to the clinic".

Dr Pallavi Bradshaw of MPS said the survey results made for "difficult reading".

"While this is an unsettling and extremely stressful time for the public, it is sad and deplorable to think that one in three doctors who go to work every day in the most challenging circumstances, putting patients first, face abuse in and outside of their workplace," she said.

"One doctor told us they receive abuse almost daily in local shops. One said they have had food thrown at them by teenagers, and another said they have been shouted at on the street several times."

Dr Bradshaw said without the appropriate support "doctors are at risk of becoming disillusioned or will suffer in silence with psychological injuries - both of which put the safety of themselves and their patients at risk".

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