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Society: One in four GPs harassed at work

Almost a quarter of GPs have been sexually harassed by their patients, a survey has showed. One-fifth have felt sexually threatened by patients to the point of fearing for their safety and 7 per cent have been the victims of stalking.

Three of the 1,500 doctors surveyed by the journal Doctor said they were so distressed by the advances of sex pest patients that they had resigned. Two had left general practice altogether.

In 3 per cent of cases, it emerged that the harassment was by a colleague.

The survey found the most common forms of harassment were receiving unwelcome attention, explicit letters, inappropriate requests for examinations or visits and unwanted gifts.

Both male and female GPs have been harassed in this way, although women were slightly more at risk, the survey found.