DOZENS of patients have been banned from their doctor's surgeries for violent and abusive behaviour towards staff, it has been revealed.

NHS England's violent patient scheme sees residents who have repeatedly used violence or threats against GP practice staff barred from the premises.

And in total, 26 patients are currently banned from their own medical centres in Warrington.

These patients are instead treated at one dedicated practice - believed to be the Bath Street Health and Wellbeing Centre.

A spokesman for NHS Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group said: "There will always be occasions when the doctor patient relationship fails, but it is important to say that all patients - even those with challenging behaviours - must be able to receive care from a GP.

"To ensure that this was done consistently and safely, NHS England in 2004 introduced the violent patient scheme.

"This scheme aims to provide patients who have been violent or aggressive in their GP practice the opportunity to continue to receive general medical services.

"The scheme allows for the balancing of the rights of patients to access general medical services with the need to ensure that GPs, practice staff, other patients and bystanders are able to deliver and receive those services without the threat or occurrence of violence or who might otherwise have reasonable fears for their safety.

"Importantly, patients on the VPS haven't been banned from receiving GP care - they continue to be able to access primary care services at a dedicated VPS practice in Warrington.

"Placing a patient onto the VPS is only used a last resort when all other ways of managing the patient's behaviour have been exhausted.

"Out of the 218,939 people registered at a GP practice in Warrington, there are currently only 26 patients on the violent patient scheme."

The British Medical Association, the UK's largest doctors' trade union, told the Warrington Guardian that any incident that puts frontline healthcare staff at risk is 'one too many'.

Dr Richard Vautrey, chairman of the BMA's GP committee, said: "When GPs are delivering over a million consultations every day, the number of incidents and number of patients involved are very, very small.

"However, one incident is one too many and we can't tolerate situations where patients are putting frontline healthcare staff at risk."