A colleague’s behaviour


Dr Quinn has recently been appointed a part-time GP in a busy inner-city practice with four other GPs. She is concerned about the behaviour of Dr McCready, another GP.


Dr Quinn saw Dr McCready acting aggressively towards practice staff and has seen some patients leave his consulting room visibly upset. A few patients have made complaints about his dismissive, ill-tempered behaviour and the practice manager reports that some patients have asked to be seen by other GPs, or the practice nurse, instead of Dr McCready. 

Dr Quinn is concerned that his behaviour will affect patient care if they are reluctant to honestly discuss their symptoms and health concerns.  

His behaviour is also affecting the previously positive working environment at the practice and creating additional burden on other staff.

What the doctor did

Dr Quinn finds an opportunity to talk to Dr McCready about his behaviour. He tells her that he has not been feeling his usual self because of personal problems but provides assurances that everything is now under control. 

He seems annoyed that she has raised the matter and doesn't want to discuss it any further. However, soon after this Dr Quinn witnesses an angry outburst in the practice waiting area and is concerned that Dr McCready doesn't appreciate the seriousness of the situation.

Dr Quinn talks to Dr Ellis, the senior GP partner, about her concerns. He understands the urgency of the situation and meets with Dr McCready to try to identify the reasons behind his aggressive behaviour. 

From the discussion, it emerges that Dr McCready's long term relationship has recently ended and he is in the middle of distressing court proceedings about access to his children. He admits he is angry and not coping with the stress and feels exhausted. He is given special leave with immediate effect to deal with his family situation. And he agrees to talk to the Doctor's Support Line about getting help to develop other coping mechanisms for managing stress.

Dr McCready agrees that he will return to GP practice only when he feels ready and able to effectively carry out his duties. As additional support, Dr Ellis arranges an Occupational Health appointment for Dr McCready. 

The practice manager sends letters of apology to the individual patients who had previously complained. In the letter she reassures them that their concerns had been taken on board and steps are being taken to ensure a better service in future.