Doctor is stabbed in stomach three times during attack at GPs' surgery

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A GP was recovering in hospital last night after she was stabbed three times in the stomach while at her surgery.

Dr Helen Jackson, 56, was assaulted at her Glasgow practice yesterday morning.

The GP was taken to the Western Infirmary for treatment to her wounds and was last night described as being in a stable condition.

Strathclyde Police said a 62-year-old man had been arrested in connection with an alleged serious assault and a full report would be forwarded to the procurator-fiscal.

The man is expected to appear before Glasgow Sheriff Court today.

Dr Jackson, a well-liked and respected GP, was stabbed at her surgery in Hyndland Road, in the upmarket Hyndland area of Glasgow, at around 9.50am.

In a statement, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said:

"We are shocked and concerned about this reported assault on a GP at a Glasgow surgery.

"A full police investigation is now under way and we have been in touch with the surgery to offer our support and assistance.

"The GP is receiving treatment at the Western Infirmary and, because of the ongoing police investigation, we cannot comment further except to express our deepest concerns about this disturbing incident."

Dr Jackson, who has been a GP for 28 years, was stabbed three times in the stomach, with one of the wounds being described as "serious".

The married mother of two grown-up children was taken to hospital after being treated at the three-doctor practice where her brother, Paul, also works.

Eyewitnesses told how Dr Jackson was taken from the surgery in a wheelchair with an oxygen mask over her face.

Building worker Stewart McGovern, 52, said: "She looked like she was conscious, but it must have been a terrible experience."

The attack on Dr Jackson is the latest example of the persistent problem of violence and aggression against NHS staff. Figures suggest that more than 4,800 staff in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde were verbally or physically attacked in 2006-07.

Across Scotland, it is estimated that one in ten NHS workers are attacked each year, with nurses and midwives the worst affected.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has a strict zero-tolerance policy towards violence against its staff and encourages victims to report all attacks.

In 2005, the board launched what it said was the "most comprehensive violence and aggression policy" in NHS Scotland.

Doctors have called for greater protection of health staff after growing numbers of attacks.

Legislation has been created to introduce tougher penalties for those who attack emergency workers in Scotland. But doctors now want its powers extended to make it easier to prosecute those who attack NHS staff working in the community, such as in GP surgeries and on home visits.

Dr Dean Marshall, chairman of the British Medical Association's Scottish GPs committee, said the attack on Dr Jackson was "appalling news".

He added: "It is completely unacceptable that doctors providing care and treatment to patients should be subject to such an attack. Every day across Scotland, GPs put themselves at risk in their surgery or when visiting patients at home.

"A strong message must be sent that violence will not be tolerated and strict sentences should apply."

Dr Marshall added: "Dr Jackson would not be covered by the Emergency Workers Act, legislation that was intended to deter violence and bring tougher penalties.

"This Act should be extended to provide GPs the same levels of protection as their hospital-based colleagues."

Shona Robison, the public health minister, last night said that the Scottish Executive was currently considering how the Act might be extended to more health workers.

She described the attack on Dr Jackson as a "deplorable incident", adding: "Violence towards GPs and other healthcare workers is totally unacceptable.

"Reducing the incidence of violence is taken extremely seriously by the Cabinet Secretary, the Health Directorate and NHS Scotland."