NHS staff are standing together against abuse

Staff across the NHS are standing together to asking people to be respectful to workers who are doing their best to help all our patients. There is evidence of increased abuse happening in hospitals, clinics, in community settings and in general practice. And it is often the people that patients first come into contact with that bear the brunt of this, which can include foul language, shouting, intimidation and threats. Increasingly it also involves targeting on social media. Dr Steve Fawcett, Medical Director for the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire NHS CCGs, which draw their members from all GP practices said: “Unfortunately we are experiencing this issue in a number of our local NHS services, however, it is now having a particular impact in primary care – our GP surgeries across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent - which is where most people come into contact with health services. “We are particularly concerned at the hostility that many of our reception staff now face regularly from a small minority of patients. “We have rising demand and we are still having to manage the COVID pandemic which means there is still a need for infection prevention and control in our surgeries. We know this is causing many people to become frustrated. However, taking these frustrations out on hard working reception staff is not the answer and can never be condoned, and we will back our practices to take any action they think is necessary to deal with this behaviour. Some practice staff have spoken about the abuse they have faced. Their names have been withheld.

Dr Fawcett said: “As doctors we are here to help patients and so are our practice staff. We don’t want to blame people but what we see from a small number of patients is bullying and harassment of staff doing their jobs that would not be tolerated anywhere else – it is face-to-face, it is over the telephone and it is increasingly online. “What we are asking for is patience. We will do our bit. We will answer the phone as quickly as possible. We will give you an appointment with the most appropriate person as soon as we can. We are doing our jobs to the best of our ability, but it can be difficult when a small minority of people act in a way that is unreasonable.”

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