Surgery screens for domestic violence

A GP surgery in Yorkshire is routinely screening female patients
for domestic violence after the success of a pilot study.

Nurses at the White Rose Surgery in Wakefield ask all new patients
at its women’s clinic whether they have been victims of, or are
experiencing, domestic violence. The procedure was developed after
a 12-month pilot showed that more than one in 10 patients admitted
being hit by partners.

Nearly half of those who admitted being victims had a history of
depression, compared with 14 per cent of non-abused women. They
also visited the surgery up to three times more often than the
non-abused group. The findings enabled GPs to reassess the
treatment of patients, changing prescribed medication and allowed
referrals to other agencies for help.

Some factors, such as if a woman’s children were on the child
protection register or if a family member had been convicted of
cruelty to animals, indicated the potential for domestic abuse. But
Dr Ruth Roche, a GP at the surgery, said it crossed all patient

“One patient was a casualty nurse who had been beaten by her social
worker husband. They had experience of it in their professional
lives but it had been going on in their own home for years,” she

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