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ICS campaign highlights consequences of abuse against practice staff

by Caitlin Tilley
1 April 2022

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Increasing abuse against GP practice and pharmacy staff has prompted an ICS to launch a campaign urging patients to consider what would happen if the staff member left their job.

The West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership (WY HCP) has launched the ‘Leaving a Gap’ campaign. This uses images that has cut out staff members from important positions, such as those at GP receptions, to communication the message.

The WY HCP said that frontline staff such as GP receptionists do deal with the majority of insults and threats.

They said in a statement: ‘Teams have been spat and sworn at, their cars damaged, received death threats and been in tears, regularly.’

Chair of WY HCP’s clinical forum Dr James Thomas said: ‘One conversation can be enough to hurt. It’s important that we all take time to consider our behaviours and how it can impact on others. Being kind can make a huge difference to someone’s day.’

Leeds GP Dr Richard Vautrey, former chair of the BMA’s GP Committee, said: the campaign comes as GP services ‘remain exceptionally busy’, and ‘whilst GP teams are working as hard as they can we know it can be very frustrating for patients’.

‘This campaign is all about asking people to take a moment to think before speaking with our staff. Abuse is significantly impacting staff morale at a time when the workforce has never been so stretched.

‘It is in danger of driving away staff from a profession under pressure – staff leaving their jobs won’t help anyone and will only make the situation worse.’

Practice managers have been at the forefront of raising concerns about abuse towards practice staff during the Covid pandemic, asking for action amid a significant increase in incidents.

A version of this story was first published on our sister title Pulse.