Increased criminal acts of violence at GP surgeries highlights the shocking reality for staff working in primary care

Ruth Rankine responds to figures obtained by the BMJ which show an increase in abuse against GP staff.

1 June 2022

Responding to figures obtained by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and reported in The Guardian that found that criminal acts of violence at GP surgeries across the UK have almost doubled in five years, Ruth Rankine Director of Primary Care at the NHS Confederation said:

“These figures highlight the shocking reality for staff working in primary care across the country.

 “Our members working in primary care understand and share the frustrations of the public regarding the mounting pressure on services. But that is no excuse for violence and abuse. We need to see a zero-tolerance approach to this behaviour from the police and the wider public.

“Counter to the prevailing narrative from certain sections of the media and some politicians, primary care is delivering over 50% more activity than two years ago. This has been possible due to the relentless focus of primary care teams on tackling the backlog whilst dealing with unprecedented demand.

“This increased activity is being delivered in the face of falling GP numbers, widespread burnout and a wider health and care workforce crisis. Violence and abuse only further demoralises staff and risks making the situation worse with GPs and others considering leaving the profession earlier.

“Government must urgently publish a fully-funded, long-term workforce plan to help us address the shortage of staff and be honest with the public about the pressures facing primary care and the wider health service.”