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Meeting held with health secretary on abuse of general practice staff

by Caitlin Tilley
27 September 2021

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BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey and health secretary Sajid Javid held an ‘emergency’ first meeting last week about the abuse currently being suffered by general practice.

In the meeting, the BMA called for ‘clear public backing for GPs’ acknowledging ‘the huge pressure they are under’, urgent investment in primary care to ‘remove unnecessary bureaucracy’ and a Government commitment to work with the BMA on ‘a national campaign to stop the abuse of NHS staff’.

It comes as a man has been charged with assault after attacking four staff members at a GP practice in Manchester, and the Prime Minister backed a Daily Mail campaign for ‘default’ face-to-face appointments.

Dr Vautrey said the meeting ‘allowed us to make it crystal clear how unacceptable the increasing abuse against hardworking and dedicated GPs and the general practice workforce is, fuelled by a damaging and demoralising misinformation campaign in some parts of the media, as well as comments from politicians’.

He said the BMA told the Government it has to ‘explain to the public that more patients than pre-pandemic have been able to access their GPs, whether that’s via the phone, online consultations or in person’, as a ‘priority’.

He added: ‘The secretary of state must confront the reality of unsustainable workload pressures, poor premises, the impact of the care backlog and secondary care work transfer to general practice and we urged him to trust practices to deliver services to patients without the rigidity, bureaucracy and burden of QOF or unnecessary CQC inspections.

‘We also called for far more action to enable practices to expand their workforce and for the Government to deliver on its commitment of 6,000 more GPs. Words are not enough, we now need urgent action.”

The BMA also told Mr Javid to support increased prison sentences for those who assault healthcare and emergency workers, following the Manchester attack.

It also warned last week that a Daily Mail campaign for GPs to see patients face to face as the ‘default’ option risks further fuelling abuse and violence against practices.

A Pulse survey recently revealed that nearly three-quarters of GPs are experiencing increased levels of patient abuse compared with before the pandemic.

This story first appeared on our sister title, Pulse.