A 59-year-old man has been charged with assault after attacking four staff members at a GP practice in Manchester on Friday afternoon.
Two of the victims were hospitalised with head injuries following the ‘disturbance’ at Florence House Medical Practice in Openshaw in Manchester.
Dr Tracey Vell, chief executive of Manchester LMC, reported on Twitter that one of the GPs suffered a skull fracture and practice staff were left with ‘deep lacerations’ following the actions carried out by a ‘patient’.
Greater Manchester Police said: ‘Olumuiwa Oduntan, (12/09/1962), of Herne Street, Openshaw, has been charged with the following offences:
- Three counts of section 18 assault
- One count of a section 47 assault
- One count of malicious communications
- One count of affray
‘He has been remanded in custody ahead of an appearance at Manchester Magistrates Court on Monday 20 September, 2021.
‘Police were called at around 12.30pm on Friday (17 September 2021) to a report of a disturbance at a surgery on Ashton Old Road, Openshaw, Manchester.
‘Four members of staff were injured in the incident.’
NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said she was ‘sad’ to hear about the incident: ‘This is never acceptable. Wishing the victims a swift recovery.’
Health secretary Sajid Javid said on Twitter that violence against health staff is ‘unacceptable’ and that the Government is ‘doing all we can’ to protect staff from abuse.
But GPs replied to the Tweet frustrated with a lack of Government action. Others suggested the onslaught of criticism in the media is causing attacks such as this.
Dr Manisha Kumar, a GP in Manchester, said she was brought to tears and that it was the ‘third incident in Manchester’ last week.
She said: ‘People are scared. The abuse is horrific in the media.’
A message on the surgery’s website said: ‘The practice and website are temporarily closed due to an incident. We apologise for any inconvenience and will reopen as soon as we can.’
BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said in response to the attack: ‘We are truly horrified to hear about this awful attack and our thoughts are with the GPs, practice staff, families and patients who have been injured and affected in this dreadful incident.
‘While the specific circumstances need to be investigated by the police, this assault, though one of the most extreme, is part of a terrible trend of growing abuse, vitriol and violence that is being directed towards our healthcare workers.’
Dr Vautrey added: ‘The Government and NHS England must act, and fast, before yet more incidents of this severity occur.’
It comes as GP leaders linked record numbers of GPs seeking mental health counselling to the ‘current vitriol and unfair attack against GPs’ in the media.
Nearly three quarters of GPs are experiencing increased levels of patient abuse compared with before the pandemic, a Pulse survey revealed.
The Doctors’ Association UK wrote to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) this month to report Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson for breaching the Editors’ Code of Practice with ‘inaccurate’ articles in which she suggested GPs are ‘hiding’.
It follows a racially motivated attack on a Lincolnshire GP who ‘nearly lost his sight’.
A shocking survey from the BMA found that more than half of GPs have faced verbal abuse from patients or those accompanying them in the last month and one in five has been threatened.