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BMA and RCGP urge Sajid Javid to condemn abuse against GPs and staff


letter support


GP and practice manager representatives have come together to urge health secretary Sajid Javid to ‘publicly support and defend’ practice teams against abuse and media ‘misinformation’.

It comes as the BMA has said it is ‘pleased’ to see a ‘clear statement’ from NHS England that abuse towards staff is ‘unacceptable’.

In a joint letter, sent yesterday, the BMA, RCGP, NHS Confederation and Institute of General Practice Management (IGPM) expressed ‘grave concern with the lack of central support or public challenge’ by the Government of ‘increasing’ abuse towards general practice teams and ‘misinformation’ around GP services.

They added: ‘Given [their] dedication and the sacrifices made to keep practices and broader primary care services running, by adapting quickly to new ways of working, staff deserve the overt and public support of Government to carry on doing what they do best – delivering much needed high-quality care to patients. 

‘Currently, they are being repeatedly attacked, insulted and scapegoated across the media.’

The letter called on Mr Javid to ‘publicly support and defend dedicated GPs and primary care staff against this onslaught of misinformation and abuse promoted by the media’.

It added: ‘This situation would be indefensible under normal circumstances but following the Covid-19 crisis, and with many primary care teams at breaking point, we fear the damage could be irreversible, as more frontline workers consider their future within the profession. 

‘This situation is not acceptable. We believe that there must be accurate, timely and regular communications from the Government to the public, which reflect the realities of the situation and what is being done to address the challenges facing the NHS, and particularly relating to general practice.’

The letter also called for ‘support to compensate for’ the pandemic backlog and recent blood tube shortage and for the Government to acknowledge that ‘many patients have benefitted from the new ways of working rapidly implemented by general practice’.

Ambitions for PCNs to ‘improve population health and reduce health inequalities’ will not be delivered ‘if the fundamental building blocks of general practice are not effectively supported’, it added.

Meanwhile, the BMA said it welcomed an NHS England statement that condemned abuse towards GP teams.

In its latest GP Committee bulletin, sent to practices yesterday, it said: ‘The importance of tackling the increased abuse directed against GP practices was also highlighted in the NHSE/I primary bulletin today, and we are pleased to see a clear statement from NHSE/I that violence and aggression towards NHS staff are unacceptable and that it is working with partner organisations to develop practical support for staff in general practice.’

NHS England’s statement said: ‘Unfortunately, we have received reports that members of staff, including colleagues working in primary care, are being subjected to abuse.

‘Everyone has the right to be safe at work, and we want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that violence and aggression towards NHS staff are totally unacceptable. Anyone with concerns should raise concerns with their managers or employers. Staff facing abuse will always have our support and that of their local system.’

NHS England added that it is ‘working with partner organisations to develop practical support for primary care employers and employees’ and reiterated that support is available via its ‘national health and wellbeing support offer’.

The BMA bulletin said that its GPC executive team yesterday ‘met for the first time to begin formal talks with NHSE/I’, following a vote to resume negotiations after a four-month break.

It added that it was ‘clear about the urgent need to deliver an emergency package of actions to support the profession through this point of crisis’.

Pulse revealed this week that the BMA’s vote around restarting formal meetings with NHS England sparked resignations from policy positions and regional seats on its GP Committee.

And a Pulse survey yesterday revealed that nearly three-quarters of GPs are experiencing increased levels of patient abuse compared with before the pandemic. 

The BMA recently launched a public campaign to rally support for GP practices, including increased Government investment.

READERS' COMMENTS [10]

Chris GP 10 September, 2021 12:18 pm

What is this place where leaders need to be urged to condemn abuse? Surely it is the default position that they should adopt ? If they need “urging” then really – what is the point?
(That said the only thing that is stopping the home secretary from ramming dinghies in the middle of the channel is a potential legal technicality).
The UK is such a nice place.

Patrufini Duffy 10 September, 2021 1:17 pm

Not sure where Pulse’s most Influential and “Powerful” leaders are. Like never before you must be sharper, intuitive and more defensive and deflective, which is a sad state of affairs when you’re the carer. The NHS lost its path a long time ago. It missed a trick, looking after its workforce. Now you have the pandemic shafting and risk to yourself and your teams. Expect little from narcissists and voter pleasers. They have private insurance, and couldn’t care less.

John Graham Munro 10 September, 2021 2:30 pm

Used to hold an open door surgery in Jaywick every Saturday morning by myself with no ancillary staff——-face mask optional——-all patients well behaved —-what does that tell you?

Mr Marvellous 10 September, 2021 4:26 pm

Why would the Government condemn it?

They’re behind most of it…

Chris GP 10 September, 2021 4:53 pm

Used to hold an open door surgery in Jaywick every Saturday morning by myself with no ancillary staff——-face mask optional——-all patients well behaved —-what does that tell you?

That you were a regular practising GP in a bygone era?

neo 99 10 September, 2021 6:53 pm

it’s a sad state when the RCGP and the BMA need to urge ministers to condem abuse; it should be a given. There is no respect for the profession yet we all continue to an eventual road towards burnout and significant mental health issues. I know of no GPs currently working in primary care who actually enjoy the work, who are not stressed and look healthy. This really cannot continue. Time to ditch the NHS and “take back control” of our lives both personal and working. Only then will we get some respect back. Time for the BMA to consider alterative models outside the NHS and for the government to buy our services on our terms if they choose to.

Cameron Wilson 10 September, 2021 8:31 pm

Until there’s an alternative on the table we will continued to be abused by all and sundry! It’s all right saying if you don’t like it leave or do locums on your own terms or in my case retire! Surely the BMA has to abandon its stance of supporting the status quo, no matter what, and come up with an alternative arrangement. Other countries seem to manage ! The days when goodwill was appreciated by both patients and our paymasters are long gone.

John Graham Munro 10 September, 2021 8:55 pm

Chris GP——–you should try it sometime

Chris GP 11 September, 2021 11:51 am

“Chris GP——–you should try it sometimeI”
I will get the tardis warmed up and set it for somewhere around 1968. See you later, (or is it earlier?).

Turn out The Lights 11 September, 2021 2:55 pm

Good will now non existent they couldn’t even buy it back with a 2004 BS Boris money spaff.