GPs facing 'obscenities' and 'haranguing' as NHS crisis deepens, Wakefield Council meeting told

Overworked NHS doctors are said to be facing daily abuse as the crisis in the frontline healthcare continues.

Friday, 29th October 2021, 9:17 am

Patients across the country are struggling to get a GP appointment, amid a backlog of treatment from lockdown and a serious staff shortage.

Councillors across Wakefield have told of their residents being left on the phone for hours while they try to book an appointment, while some are seeing their health deteriorate as they wait to be seen.

The local NHS says GPs are working harder than ever before and there are concerns that staff are now facing unacceptable levels of vitriol.

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The British Medical Association has called for government help after staff were injured at a practice in Manchester.

Last month, the British Medical Association said aggressive behaviour was a growing threat, following an attack at a Manchester practice where four staff members were injured.

Speaking at a full council meeting on Wednesday where the issue was discussed, Wakefield East councillors Olivia Rowley, said health professionals were suffering, as well as patients.

She said: "In one particular area, Wakefield CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) enticed a doctor from another part of Wakefield to run a practice in my ward, because they couldn't get another doctor.

"He's stretched because he covers two areas of Wakefield.

"Recently I was speaking to him and he was saying he receives an awful lot of haranguing, rudeness and downright obscenities.

"He just can't accommodate the number of people who need help."

Coun Rowley, who represents Labour, added: "We need to bear in mind that staff, like the rest of us, are human beings and don't need to be derided and treated with rudeness.

"I'm concerned that's something that's not been taken into account."

The government has announced a £250m package to improve access to face-to-face appointments over the winter.

It's feared it could take years for the problems to ease however, given the time needed to train up new medics.

Councillors backed a motion by Conservative councillor Gill Cruise calling on the government to "take all necessary measures" to deal with the crisis and ensure no patient is forced to "wait outside in the cold" before their appointment.

Coun Cruise, who represents Horbury and South Ossett said: "Most of the public have been very patient and understanding about all of this.

"But I think now tempers are fraying and people are starting to get very, very angry."

Coun Cruise said she did not want telephone appointments to "become the norm".

It was recently revealed that a Wakefield patient was told they had 12 months to live over the phone by a consultant. He later received an apology.

Coun Cruise added: "I understand telephone appointments for simple ailments can work.

"But what happens if the patient is playing down their symptoms?

"What happens if they're anxious or shy? What happens if they've missed something?

"There are too many 'what ifs'."

Local Democracy Reporting Service