It is with great regret that we are having to write this letter to you all. There has been a substantial rise in the incidents of verbal abuse towards our staff. This has led to an increase in staff absence due to stress.
All our staff have a right to do their jobs without fear of being attacked or abused. In line with NHS policy, Waterfront and Solent Surgery has a zero-tolerance approach to aggression, abuse, violence or anti-social behaviour towards our staff. Such behaviour or the use of inappropriate words causing distress will not be tolerated and could lead to the person being removed from the practice list.
We appreciate that the unprecedented demand on Primary Care Services has resulted in longer waiting times for routine appointments. In addition, we have seen a huge rise in the volume of incoming telephone calls, and this means that you are likely to be held in a queue during peak times.
Our reception team are here to help guide our patients into the correct appointments and are following instructions given to them by the Partners, there is never any intention to be obstructive.
Sadly, staff absence due to stress puts an increased burden on the remaining staff and increases waiting times on the phone lines and at reception. It is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit into reception and administrative posts. We currently, like many GP practices, have unfilled posts. This is due to the intensity of the work pattern and unfortunately, the rising tide of abuse that NHS staff are facing.
We are aware that these incidents of verbal abuse against our staff do not reflect the behaviour of the majority of our patients.
Please be kind to General Practice and we will all be able to come to work with a smile and make our Practice the best that it can be.
Dr Sherwin, Dr Sheppard and Dr Hoyle.