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COVID-19: England’s chief nurse condemns violence and verbal abuse towards nurses

‘Respect and listen to NHS staff’ during pandemic, urges Ruth May


Ruth May speaking on the BBC Breakfast programme this morning. Picture: BBC

England’s chief nursing officer Ruth May has called for the public to respect NHS staff following reports of abuse and violence towards them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms May made the request when speaking on the BBC Breakfast television programme this morning.

Incidents of staff being spat at and assaulted 

‘I am shocked at some of the stories I am hearing of NHS staff being assaulted, spat at or attacked for their ID badges,’ she said.

‘So I am calling on the public to respect and listen to NHS staff, because you may be needing them very soon. Please stay at home, wash your hands and save lives.’

Some community nurses receiving verbal abuse

Her comments follow concerns raised by RCN director of nursing, policy and practice, Susan Masters, that community nurses were being verbally abused in the street and called ‘disease spreaders’.

Ms May said she was deeply moved by the UK coming together for the Clap for our Carers campaign last week, as well as the support and generosity shown by businesses and members of the public.

‘But these inspiring displays of gratitude are at risk of being overshadowed by the stupid behaviour of an idiotic few who are putting lives at risk,’ she added.


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