Exclusive NHS England’s primary care medical director has asked to meet with GP staff who faced a practice attack last week, to help ensure similar incidents do not happen again.
Dr Nikki Kanani added that NHS England recognises the ‘unprecedented contribution’ of general practices in ‘remaining there for patients’ during the pandemic.
In a personal message of ‘support and appreciation’ to the practice, seen by Pulse, Dr Kanani said that she ‘would welcome an opportunity to speak to the GPs and staff in a closed doors meeting’ either virtually or physically ‘if helpful’.
She added that she would like to ‘listen and understand your concerns and ensure that the steps we are taking nationally will ensure that such events do not happen in the future’.
Dr Kanani also thanked the team at Florence House Medical Practice in Openshaw for their ‘ongoing work under these difficult circumstances’ and in particular the staff and their families who were ‘caught up in the events on the day’.
She added that there is ‘no place for violence or aggression towards NHS staff’.
The email message said: ‘There is no reasonable excuse and under no circumstances does any individual working in the national, regional or local NHS accept that any individual’s anger should result in any form of physical or verbal assault on our staff.
‘We recognise the unprecedented contribution of local general practices in supporting patients through the pandemic and remaining there for your patients during these difficult and challenging times.’
NHS England has nationally ‘maintained daily contact’ with Manchester commissioners and its own regional team who ‘are supporting you with practical steps and will continue to ensure that you and your teams receive the support you need’, it added.
It comes as the BMA has demanded an urgent meeting with the health secretary to discuss its concerns and what steps – including new legislation – must be taken to keep healthcare workers safe from violence and abuse.
It also warned this week that a Daily Mail campaign for GPs to see patients face to face as the ‘default’ option risks further fuelling abuse and violence against practices.
A Pulse survey recently revealed that nearly three-quarters of GPs are experiencing increased levels of patient abuse compared with before the pandemic.
Meanwhile, grassroots GP organisation GP Survival has called on hospital colleagues to stop ‘perpetuating the myth’ that GPs are lazy and practices are closed.