Abuse in general practice

This is a global problem and researchers in Canada have tried to elicit the causes.Part of the research involved interviews with GPs who had experienced abuse in the previous year. Fourteen male and 23 female GPs were interviewed.

The usual perpetrators were patients and their families, but the GPs also talked about abuse from their colleagues. This prompted the researchers to examine medical culture.

GPs could be abused by other GPs, as well as by specialists and administrators, ranging from verbal abuse to sexual harassment.

The participants expressed the view that perceived professional hierarchies contributed to abuse. GPs were less valued than specialists, partly because of the large difference in remuneration.


Bullying and humiliation may have been a routine part of medical training, but are now considered unacceptable. As the abused are likely to become abusers, it may take a few generations