A man has been charged by police after GP practice staff in Crewe were threatened with ‘two large knives’ and had to evacuate the surgery.
Crewe Police said that they received multiple reports of a man entering Grosvenor Medical Centre on Tuesday afternoon and being threatening towards staff, ‘producing two large knives and making threats to kill’.
The practice staff managed to evacuate patients from the building and internal panic alarms were pressed to alert the police.
A spokesperson for the force said: ‘We received multiple reports of a male who had entered Grosvenor Medical Centre who had been threatening towards staff.
‘He then produced two large knives and [was] making threats to kill. Staff managed to evacuate people from the building and internal panic alarms were pressed alerting police.
‘Response taser officers, firearms officers and specialist units made to the location where the male was detained and arrested. Two large knives have been recovered from the scene.
‘The investigation is continuing and the motive for the threats are unknown. Luckily no injuries have been reported from the courageous medical staff or any other persons.’
The practice decided to close for the rest of the day following the incident on Tuesday, adding: ‘For the safety of our staff we will be using the intercom for appointments going forward. Thanks to Crewe Police for their quick response with such a serious incident.’
In a statement on their website, the practice said: ‘Patients are being advised that entry to the practice buildings is being limited this week, following a serious incident which took place on 29 August at Grosvenor Medical Centre involving violence against some of our staff.
‘The practice is still seeing patients for appointments, and people can also still contact the practice by telephone or online as normal, but we have temporarily increased our buildings security in line with police advice, while the incident continues to be investigated.
‘We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause, but ensuring the continued safety of both our staff and patients is our first priority.’
A statement from the force said: ‘In relation to the Grosvenor Medical Centre incident yesterday Geoff Critchley, 60, from Crewe, has been charged with affray, threats to kill, cause a nuisance/disturbance on NHS premises and possession of a bladed article in a public place.
‘Critchley has been remanded to appear at Chester Magistrates Court on 31 August.’
NHS England recently launched a new programme aiming to reduce violence against staff working in general practice, encouraging GPs to identify abusive or violent patients who may benefit from rehabilitation.
In June, a survey by a medical defence organisation found that GPs having to tell patients of long waiting lists for hospital treatment face a risk of abuse.
And more than seven in 10 GPs have seen or witnessed verbal or physical abuse from patients or their relatives in the past year, according to the survey.
Pulse’s investigation into the effects of abuse earlier this year showed a 16% rise in crimes involving violence at GP surgeries since 2019, after a drop in incidents during the pandemic.