Petworth doctors’ surgery sends out message to abusive patients

“We are completely understanding that people are stressed and emotional but, in order for us to help at the best of our ability, we need people to stay calm.”

Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 7:33 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th October 2020, 10:47 am

That was the message from Petworth Surgery, which has seen an increase in aggressive and threatening behaviour from patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a post on social media this week, the surgery wrote: “It is such a shame we have to make a point of this.

“Although the majority of our patients greet us with kindness and understanding, we have seen an increase of aggressive, rude [and] threatening behaviour from some of our patients which is just not on!

Petworth surgery reassures patients. Pic Steve Robards SR2009222 SUS-200922-174107001

“We have ZERO tolerance towards violent, threatening or abusive behaviour.”

Hafiza Bhabha, practice manager, said that although she understands the stress caused by the pandemic, the ‘spike in more rude behaviour’ is ‘not acceptable’.

She added: “We are aware that there has been difficulties accessing the surgery because of the pandemic.

“At the same time, we are always trying to help and fill the gaps where needed.

“We would be grateful if staff could be treated with the same courtesy and respect that we treat patients.”

Ms Bhabha said the rise in rude behaviour is a trend seen in doctors’ surgeries across the country.

The surgery shared a warning from the NHS on social media, informing patients that if they act in a aggressive and/or threatening manner, they will be asked to leave the premises; the police may be called and ‘you could be removed from our patient list’.

“NHS staff must be able to come to work without fear of violence, abuse or harassment from patients or their relatives,” the post added.

“Our staff are here to help you, please treat them with respect.”

This comes after the surgery hit back at claims from MP Andrew Griffith that GPs were being ‘ordered’ to give patients face-to-face appointments.

The Arundel and South Downs MP has since clarified his comments, saying that they had ‘nothing to do’ with Petworth Surgery, which has remained open ‘throughout the pandemic’. Read more here

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