Half of GPs say patients have physically attacked them or their staff | The Sun
HALF of GPs say patients have physically attacked them or their staff — and three out of four get verbal abuse every week.
The survey of 1,000 UK family doctors, by industry magazine Pulse, showed a further two thirds have suffered social media harassment.
Surgeries have been vandalised, while staff have faced assault and threats of arson.
One GP said a patient was “desperately abusive” to their receptionist last week, threatening they could “sort them all out” with a gun if they were in the US.
The doctor said: “There seems to be a seismic swing away from ‘clap for the NHS’ that’s only a few months ago to today where abuse is rife again.
“Primary care seems to be bearing the brunt and blamed by all and sundry for the current issues and the public are picking up on this.”
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More than half of doctors surveyed said complaints about getting an appointment skyrocketed last year.
One practice near York said it has been closed for the last two months because it was struggling to recruit staff, partly due to the level of abuse they were facing.
Professor Kamila Hawthorne, chair of the Royal College of GPs, described the findings as “deeply concerning”, adding “abuse is now a common experience for GPs”.
Meanwhile, medical staff on the picket lines at yesterday’s strikes also say they have been abused by patients at work.
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Mental health support worker Steve Bedford, 42, said he has been "attacked frequently".
He said patients have grown "frustrated" or "angry" because understaffing has meant there are not enough health workers to look after them.
Speaking outside of St George's Hospital in south-west London, he said: "I can show you scars on my hands where I've been bitten, punched, kicked.
"This isn't every now and again, this is frequently. In a month I could be hit five times, six times, in a month.
“No-one should have to come into work and put up with that or accept it."
Responding to the survey, Dr Kieran Sharrock, of the British Medical Association, 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, 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.”
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