Practice staff come together to ask people to ‘please be patient’ when contacting their GP surgery

Practice staff have joined together to issue a plea to people in County Durham to ‘please be patient’ when calling their GP surgery.

Doctors, practice managers, nurses, receptionists and administration staff from across the county, have recorded a joint video message asking patients to please be understanding when trying to book an appointment.

The move follows a sharp increase in the demand for primary care services and a rise in verbal abuse directed toward practice staff.

Dr Stewart Findlay, chief officer, NHS County Durham Clinical Commissioning Group, (CCG), said: “All our surgery staff have worked extremely hard throughout the pandemic doing their absolute best to support patients.

“But we must remember that the pandemic is not over, infection rates and hospital admissions are rising and the demand for primary care services has continued to grow with practices receiving many more calls a day than they did before.

“Unfortunately, what we are also seeing is a rise in the levels of abuse from people who may be finding it difficult to get an appointment or to see a GP when they want to.

“This is unacceptable and not only impacts on the mental health of our staff but also makes it harder for them to do their job and deliver the care that people need.”

A recent Institute of General Practice Management (IGPM) campaign highlighted the issue of abuse across the country, with 75 percent of GP staff experiencing threatening behaviour from patients on a daily basis and 13 percent at least once a week.

“We understand why people may feel frustrated but many of the things they are frustrated about are not the responsibility of the staff they speak to, added Dr Findlay.

“Often, they are just as frustrated as the patients themselves.

“GP practices are open, and it is really important that people continue to put their health first and seek medical help when they need it.

“Everyone will still need to be screened for Covid before coming into a surgery, to protect patients that may be at high risk, so we are asking people to ‘please be a patient patient’ and remember that staff working in general practice are really busy and are doing their very best to help in what are still very challenging times.”

Watch the video here:

Published on 31 August 2022