GPs and their staff should not bear the brunt of wider NHS pressures, says BMA

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA.

Location: UK
Last reviewed: 1 June 2022

Responding to the BMJ investigation which found that violent incidences at GP practices had doubled in five years, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA chair of council, said:

“These figures make for alarming reading. It is unacceptable that GPs and their staff are afraid and at risk of being verbally or physically abused, when they are working amidst exceptional pressures and striving to do their best for patients. GP practices are facing unmanageable levels of demand with 2,000 fewer GPs than in 2015. When including vaccination appointments, over 5.4 million more appointments were delivered in March 2022 than pre-Covid in March 2020. It is therefore no surprise that patients are having difficulties with access and appointments which are down to a lack of capacity and lack of historic investment in general practice.

“It is important that GPs and their staff do not bear the brunt of wider NHS pressures, such as the record backlog of patients waiting for hospital treatments, from patients who feel the need to vent their frustrations.

“We fundamentally need the Government to be open and honest with the public that the real reason patients don't have the level of service they deserve is due to the fact we have severe shortages of GPs and a lack of capacity to meet record demand. We also need ministers to make clear to the public that there will be zero tolerance to abuse, violence and threats against GPs and their staff, and that swift action will be taken against any offenders.”

Ends

Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.