GP attacked six times: patient rage on the rise

RECENT reports showing assault and abuse are a growing part of GP life are not news to Melbourne GP Dr Richard Waluk.

In the last 18 months, Dr Waluk, who works as a solo GP in St Kilda East, has been physically attacked by patients six times. He has sustained rib fractures, a fractured thumb, multiple bruises and abrasions, and a cervical spine injury requiring a spinal fusion. He still wears a neck brace intermittently for residual neurological symptoms.

Dr Waluk laments the lack of support from both the Government and the justice system for GPs facing this issue.

He recalls an incident last September when his rib was broken by a patient who was seeking a prescription for alprazolam. 

“When I sent the reports and the police came, nothing happened. No-one has been charged,” he said.

He did, however, receive a letter from the Victorian Health Department warning him not prescribe alprazolam to the patient who had