'Please don’t take your frustration out on our teams': Campaign launched after rise in abuse against healthcare staff

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A West-Yorkshire wide campaign has been launched after a rise in levels of abuse directed at healthcare staff during the pandemic.

The West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership (WY HCP), which brings together all regional healthcare organisations, has launched a campaign called ‘Leaving a gap’ - to make people think about the consequences of abusive behaviour.

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It was an issue they said had been worse by the pandemic and included reports of doctors’ cars being smashed up, practice doors being broken and receptionists in tears on a daily basis because of abuse over the phone.

Leeds GP Dr Richard VautreyLeeds GP Dr Richard Vautrey
Leeds GP Dr Richard Vautrey

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GPs are reportedly receiving more than 1,000 telephone calls a day and community pharmacies are also managing increasing numbers of people seeking help.

The WY HCP campaign contains a series of striking images in the hope of reminding people that everyone is there to help.

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Dr Richard Vautrey, Leeds GP, said “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”.

Dr James Thomas, chairman of WY HCP Clinical Forum, said “GPs are working differently, whilst helping more people than ever before.

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“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”.

Ruth Buchan, chief executive officer at Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire said “While most people treat our staff with the respect they deserve in the workplace, sadly, community pharmacy teams are facing increased abuse. We are here to help you with advice and medicines.

“Please don’t take your frustration out on our teams. I know things can be frustrating but let’s be kind to each other, it can make a huge difference to someone’s day and work life”.

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