There is a nationwide campaign that was launched by the Institute of Practice Management highlighting the abuse that general practice reception staff can face on a daily basis. We are partnering with a group of GP surgeries that also serve our local community to make an official statement and to share awareness of this campaign, as disappointingly we do experience this from a small number of our patients.
The past 18 months are likely a period in our history which no one would ever wish to see repeated; it has affected every single person. Whilst a lot of sectors and industries have shut up shop or reduced their capacity in an effort to keep their employees safe, Primary Care has not only remained open, but has increased the number of appointments available, ensured that all premises are COVID secure, changed the way we work completely to maintain services, all of this whilst at the same time managing a vaccination centre to ensure our patient populations receive their COVID Vaccines as quickly as possible. We are dealing with unprecedented levels of demand.
Your local GP practice has continued to care for patients by adapting their way of working to ensure that you could continue to receive the care you needed. Changes such as telephone and online triage were brought in not only to protect patients, but also to mitigate risk and protect the staff as much as was possible, thereby ensuring that staff were able to come into work every single day throughout this pandemic. Whilst accessing your surgery may have been and may continue to be in a different way, we have always been open and have been seeing patients that needed to be seen.
Every member of staff has gone above and beyond, sometimes at a cost to themselves (and sometimes their family) to ensure that patients get the best possible care that we can deliver under such challenging circumstances. We are all tired. We have all been pushed to our limits, and often beyond. All whilst working harder than ever before, so a patient shouting or swearing can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Unfortunately, the love and appreciation that was there for the NHS has diminished and it has been replaced with aggression and frustration. The increase in abuse that our reception staff and doctors alike have had to endure is totally unacceptable. The swearing, shouting, heartless comments, and slander which is posted on social media is frankly, quite demoralising and does not always represent the truth. We do not deserve to be treated in this way and we will not hesitate to implement our zero-tolerance policy on anyone who thinks this type of behaviour is, whether in person or on social media.
We ask that you be kind to anyone you come into contact with at your surgery – we are trying our best to serve you safely and ensure your health is looked after. Everything we do is with the aim to continue to provide the best care and support needed to our patients whilst keeping everyone safe.