10:12 pm, Monday 7 October, 2013
Many Australian female General Practitioners experience sexual harassment from patients in their workplace, a study reveals.
According to the Monash University study published today in the Medical Journal of Australia, more than half of the female physicians have experienced being harassed at least once by a patient.
The Daily Telegraph reported that the nationwide survey of 180 female doctors showed almost 55 percent were harassed by a patient. Of this, almost 10 percent have been sexually harassed more than eight times.
The most common concerns reported were requests for inappropriate examinations, inappropriate exposure of body parts, gender-based remarks, inappropriate gifts, sexual remarks and touching or grabbing.
Two thirds of the GPs who were sexually harassed changed their consulting lifestyle because of their experience. Changes included formal manner in consultation, not performing examination, changing the way they dress, keeping their personal life more private, no longer working after hours or alone.
The study also showed that fewer than one in four of the respondents received training in dealing with sexual harassment from patients.
One of the authors of the study, Dr Peter Bratuskins, said this study highlighted the need for more training for female physicians to assist them in dealing with sexual harassment.
“Workplace safety training should also recognise possible sexual harassment by patients and policy and practice-based approaches are needed to support clinicians in practice,” he said.