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Statement from Dr Gupta regarding rising levels of abuse in general practice

Date published: 20/09/2021

Dear colleagues

I am writing to you regarding the shocking spike in levels of abuse and aggression faced by General Practice staff. You would have heard of the horrific attack on a GP practice in Manchester which left a GP with a skull fracture and other staff with serious injuries. It goes without saying that any abuse aimed at General Practice staff is absolutely unacceptable.

Sadly, this is not an isolated incident and recently there have been increasing reports of abuse, vandalism and assaults in Kent and Medway, and around the country. This seems to be fueled by a concerted negative media campaign against General Practice. Unfortunately, the response from the government and NHS England has been weak and entirely inappropriate.

We want to assure you that Kent LMC is here to support you in case you have any concerns regarding abusive behaviour. We recommend you review your Zero Tolerance policy and how it is publicised to patients, and the guidance for dealing with difficult patients, and violent patients.

We also ask that when you experience incidents in which patients are abusive, threatening or violent you provide us with a brief outline of what happened via info@kentlmc.org. The data collected will be used to support concerns already raised with the CCG, specifically lack of security and the risks associated with home visits.

I also want to highlight the BMA’s guidance regarding safe working limits for GPs. Most GPs are working far in excess of the safe limit of 25 appointments/contacts a day and practices might want to review their appointment numbers to reduce pressure. These pressures are obvious from the GP workforce data that shows falling GP numbers at the same time as appointments are increasing.

I have also raised this with the BMA as we need a strong response from them on this issue. We will continue to keep you updated on further action from Kent LMC.

Thank you once again for everything your teams are doing for your patients and communities.

Best wishes

GG Signature