MP urges Health Secretary to back local GPs against increasing abuse

October 4, 2021 9:28 AM
Originally published by Tim Farron

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, challenging him to publicly support GPs and their staff in the wake of a worrying rise in abuse from members of the public.

Local doctors have contacted Tim to say they are incredibly worried about the amount of abuse their profession is currently receiving, following the biggest rise in demand for GP services in Morecambe Bay since early 2016.

It comes as a recent survey published by the British Medical Association found that:

  • 67% of GPs had seen colleagues experience violence or abuse.
  • 96% of GPs said verbal hostility was usually directed at receptionists.
  • 67% of GPs said abuse had worsened over the last year.
  • 64% believed the abuse was prompted by the culprit's discontent at the care they had received or the waiting time involved.

Writing to the Health Secretary, Tim said: "I am sure you will agree that GPs and their staff team should not be subject to abusive, intimidating or violent behaviour? How dispiriting must it feel to be rolling out the vaccine programme, delivering winter flu clinics, seeing increased numbers of patients as well as offering extended surgery opening times and what they receive in return is unrelenting complaints, poor behaviour and negative press articles in the national media wrongly suggesting that general practice has been closed for business throughout the pandemic.

"I, therefore, urge you to personally stand up for GP services and quash the regular perception portrayed in the media that they are not doing their job properly and this means supporting GPs to take appropriate steps to manage the increasing demand for their services, making best use of different consultation styles including remote and face to face options, as they see fit.

"Can l ask what steps you will take in the coming days to address these concerns and openly support general practice, for l fear without such support you will see staff leaving in droves and you having to deal with another crisis in GP recruitment and retention, at a time when it least needs it?"