The NHS Security Management Service (SMS) has admitted more needs to be done to protect doctors after a survey found one in three were physically or verbally attacked last year.
The poll by the British Medical Association (BMA) questioned 591 doctors from England, Scotland and Wales, and found most did not report incidents of violence.
Female doctors were more likely to be subjected to assaults in the workplace than males (37% compared with 27%).
And junior doctors were the most likely to experience violence, followed by GPs.
Dr Hamish Meldrum, head of the BMA, said: “These are worrying figures – both in terms of the potential numbers involved and the fact that so few doctors tend to report violence.”
But a spokesman for the NHS Security Management Service said: “Violence and abuse against doctors is unacceptable and the NHS Security Management Service continues to work with the BMA to tackle this problem.
“Like everyone providing NHS services, doctors deserve respect from those they care for.
“Since its creation in 2003, the NHS SMS has introduced measures to tackle the problem of violence and abuse against NHS professionals.
“But more needs to be done to tackle violence and we would urge doctors to report all incidents to the local security management specialist at their health body and to the police.”
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