'If I die, it will be your fault' - South Shields health centre teams join campaign speaking out against abuse they can face from patients
“If I die, it will be your fault.”
Just one of the abusive comments endured by health centre staff as teams in South Shields add their voice to a campaign calling on patients to put a stop to the daily abuse they can face.
Teams at Marsden Road Health Centre and Wawn Street Surgery opened up on the behaviour they have suffered, as a new survey shows 75% of staff across the country experience daily abuse from the people they are trying to help.
A new national campaign video, launched by the Institute of General Practice Management (IGPM) aims to end all abuse towards general practice staff and includes real-life examples of patient interactions from practices across the UK, including.
These have included GP staff whose tyres were slashed by a patient who had not been able to get an appointment that day and a receptionist with Chinese heritage, who received racist abuse and was spat on in relation to the Covid-19 virus.
Research shows the majority of practice staff – 78% – have faced threatening behaviour, racist or sexist abuse from patients, and 83% reporting having called the police for help.
Nadine Farrow, group practice manager for the Marsden Group, said: “As demand for services at our practice has increased dramatically over the last year, sadly so has the amount of abuse our practice staff have faced.
“We’re taking part in this national campaign to highlight the good work practices like ours are doing, and make a plea to the public to be patient with our staff, instead of attacking them.
"We’ve worked throughout the pandemic and have done our absolute best to support patients. We’re calling for the abuse to end now.”
The survey of 571 GP practice managers showed that 83% have had to remove a patient from the surgery due to multiple incidents towards their team.
Other recent research from an NHS Staff Survey showed that 14.9% of respondents had been subjected to physical violence while in work.
Much abuse goes unreported and national annual data on physical assaults against NHS staff are no longer published.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the zero-tolerance approach to abuse and encourage all practice staff to feel confident about reporting incidents.