The London Consultants’ Association (LCA) expressed concern at patient behaviour towards consultants in private and NHS practice and said it recognised the impact on morale.
Chairman Dr Mark Vanderpump said: ‘The pandemic has resulted in new ways of working, with an increased risk of breakdown in communication. It is noted that there was a significant increase in complaints in the Independent Sector Complaints Adjudication Service’s annual report. The LCA is available to provide mentoring to any members who require support.’
A straw poll of the Federation of Independent Practitioner Organisations’ board produced the general consensus that abuse episodes are infrequent.
According to one consultant, complaints had increased from self-pay patients who he believed never intended to pay anyway and were just trying to avoid the NHS waiting lists.
Chairman Mr Richard Packard said: ‘I am sure most of the issues during the lockdowns where private access was restricted were down to patients not understanding why they could not have their procedure when they wanted.
‘I certainly found that if suitable explanations were in place and a remote consultation with appropriate investigations was done there were no issues.’
GMC guidance on ending a professional relationship with a patient acknowledges doctors may wish to stop treating patients who have been violent or abusive.