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Should GPs take a “zero tolerance” approach to patient behaviour?

Increasing numbers of people are complaining about being struck off GP lists as some doctors take a “zero-tolerance” approach to patient behaviour, the health service ombudsman said today.

Ann Abraham said just over one in five, or 21%, of complaints about GPs investigated by her office last year were about people being removed from GP patient lists, an increase of 6% since 2009/10.

Ms Abraham said aggression or abuse were “never acceptable” but NHS contracts obliged GPs to give a warning before removing patients, with the exception of cases where this would pose a risk or was unreasonable to do so.

She said there was evidence that some GPs were not following British Medical Association (BMA) guidance that the behaviour of one family member should not mean the automatic removal of other relatives.

Today we ask: Should GPs take a “zero tolerance” approach to patient behaviour?