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Call for kindness in General Practice

1 June 2021

GP practices and patients in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin have come together to encourage mutual respect and understanding between patients and practice staff. 

Whilst the majority of patients have understood the challenges created by the pandemic and appreciate the care provided by their practice, some practices are sadly seeing an increase in incidents of verbal abuse directed at their staff. 

Dr Deborah Shepherd, Medical Director for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The last year has been very hard and everyone has struggled, our patients and our staff – but there is never any excuse for threatening or abusive behaviour. 

“In general practice we have remained open throughout the pandemic to provide care to our patients, as well as taking on additional work, such as delivering the vaccination programme, without additional staff. We had to find different ways of working to allow us to do this. We know this created increased pressure on staff and left some patients feeling frustrated.  

“Even though the restrictions on our communities have eased, the demand for all the varied services we provide has continued to grow, just as it has elsewhere across the country. Our practices are now receiving many more calls a day than they were pre-Covid.  

“Staff are regularly experiencing abuse from some people which impacts on their mental health. This is not ok. It makes it even harder for them to do their job and deliver the care you need. We recognise and understand why people are feeling frustrated but many of the things you are frustrated about are not the responsibility of the staff you speak to, and they don’t have the ability to change them. Often they are just as frustrated as you!

We must always remember that those working in our practices are people too and are doing their best to help you in what are still very challenging times.” 

The Management team of Telford Patients First said: “We’d like to stress that a simple ‘thank you’ can be a sign of appreciation and help make staff feel valued about the difference they are making to people’s lives. This is more important now than ever when we are unable to always communicate face to face. 

“On behalf of Telford Patients First, we would like to stress that we do acknowledge the continued commitment of both clinical and non-clinical practice staff during these difficult times. At no time do we condone violent or abusive behaviour towards practice staff who are trying to do their job. 

Patients who require urgent care, should think 111 first. NHS 111 will be able to assess and, if required, book a time slot at a range of services in the hospitals and the community to make sure patients can be seen safely. In an emergency, patients should call 999.



Page last updated 8 June 2021