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Man jailed for four months after threatening to ‘flatpack’ GP practice staff

A man has been jailed for four months after threatening to ‘flatpack’ staff at a Scottish GP practice.

Sandy Ferguson, of Kilbirnie’s Bankfaulds Court, appeared from custody at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court last week and pleaded guilty to one charge.

His plea of not guilty to a second charge was accepted by the court.

The court heard that Mr Ferguson, 33, entered Kilbirnie Medical Practice in Garnock Valley at around 2.30pm on April 28 and asked a female staff member if he could register there.

The employee gave Mr Ferguson the relevant forms and told him that he would require identification. He said he would not be providing identification and became aggressive towards her. This was heard by another staff member.

Mr Ferguson left the building but came back at 3.30pm. Staff proceeded to the front of the practice in anticipation of him becoming aggressive again.

He said he had completed the forms but they were found to be filled out incorrectly. Ferguson again became aggressive and told staff: ‘You’ll get jack s**t from me.’

The court heard that staff members had reported they felt threatened by Ferguson’s behaviour and that he was aggressive and was pacing around in circles.

Mr Ferguson left and then returned to the surgery again at 5.10pm. Staff told him that he should come back the following Tuesday as a manager would be in, to which he replied: ‘If you don’t register me I’ll take you outside and I’ll flatpack the lot of yous.’

Mr Ferguson was being very aggressive and was again pacing about and coming towards the counter at times.

The court heard that a staff member was extremely scared by his behaviour which she described as “quite manic”. The premises were closed early to prevent Ferguson coming back again.

Defending Mr Ferguson, solicitor Jim Irvine said: ‘It’s fair to say he’s not proud of himself.

‘He sustained an injury to his wrist which had to be pinned. He went to the practice to obtain painkillers. They have a policy – fill in a form and show a birth certificate. He didn’t have one, he doesn’t have one.

‘He accepts that in the cold light of day he could have handled the situation better. He’s very apologetic. He has [pleaded] guilty at the first opportunity.’

Sheriff Craig Harris told Ferguson: ‘No matter that you might have been frustrated at not being able to register you behaved in a despicable way.

‘That practice is there for the benefit of patients and you deprive them of the service of that because the practice had to close early. The staff who work in there are fully entitled to do their job without abuse.’

‘You have a record for violence and dishonesty.’

Mr Ferguson was jailed for four months, reduced from six months due to his guilty plea.

It comes as a recent survey by Pulse’s publisher Cogora found that rising numbers of GPs have experienced some form of verbal, written or physical abuse from patients in the past year, with two thirds now suffering abuse.