Suffolk GP surgeries see surge in abuse towards staff
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A GP practice has appealed for patients to respect staff amid a rise in abusive behaviour against staff.
The Hadleigh Boxford Group Practice posted about the rising levels of abuse on its Facebook page, stressing it will follow the NHS' zero tolerance policy to abuse.
The rising levels come as hard-working staff at its Hadleigh Health Centre and Boxford Mill surgeries continue to face increasing pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic and vaccination programme, with the practice having already administered 17,000 vaccinations.
In the post, a spokesman for the practice said it is looking at ways to improve its services and called on its patients to not take out their frustrations on reception staff.
The post said: "We all have bad days, and when we feel ill, we may feel 'down' and a little more irritable than normal. All our staff are here to help you.
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"Reception staff are following procedures that help the practice to function efficiently.
"Staff have the right to work in a safe and secure environment and we, as employers, have the legal responsibility to provide that safe and secure environment.
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"Unfortunately, it is disappointing that we have to post this message but we are receiving an increased number of our patients being rude and aggressive to our reception staff.
"We understand that patients are finding it more difficult to reach us on the telephone and harder to get the appointment at the time they want – this is a clear indication of the pressure we are working under."
It went on to stress that normal day-to-day work has increased "considerably" over the last six months, adding patients presenting more than one problem is seeing appointments take longer than expected.
A survey will shortly be sent to patients to ask for their feedback.
The post continued: "In the meantime we ask our patients to not take out their frustration on our Reception staff, they are here to help and have the right to be treated kindly and with respect at all times."
The practice was approached for further comment.