Abuse of practice staff grows

Doctorsnet.uk 19 January 2023, 1:00am

Staff face daily abuse in many practices across the UK, according to an alarming new survey.

The survey of GPs found that 40% reported daily abuse against them or their staff.

As many as 74% reported facing weekly abuse in their practice, according to the Pulse survey. 45% said that all their staff would experience abuse at least once a year.

The findings follow growing concern that pressures on GP care and media reporting has increased levels of abuse against practice staff.

Dr Kieran Sharrock, acting chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee in England, said: “Any kind of abuse against GPs and their teams is completely unacceptable. No one should ever go into work fearing that they will be abused, let alone physically.

“We understand that patients are often in pain and distress when they interact with the health service, and that current pressures and a lack of staff mean it can take longer to access the care they need. However, we cannot let people take their frustrations with the system out on those who are just doing the best they can in difficult circumstances.

“Abusive behaviour ultimately has a huge impact on morale within practice teams and makes staff question whether they want to stay in the health service. In the midst of a serious workforce crisis, we simply cannot afford to lose any more talented healthcare professionals.

“The pressures in the NHS are not the fault of patients or staff, but years of underfunding and a failure to properly support its workforce. If we want a health service that can provide timely care, from doctors who feel valued, then the Government must give the NHS the investment it desperately needs.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “Violence or abuse directed at NHS staff, who work tirelessly to provide care, is unacceptable.

“We have provided £5 million for additional security measures in general practice, including CCTV, panic buttons and screens at reception. As of September 2022, there are almost 2,300 more full-time equivalent doctors working in general practice compared to September 2019, with record numbers in training.”