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Nurse chiefs slam ‘vile’ online abuse of healthcare staff for promoting COVID-19 vaccine

Call follows threatening tweets made to Royal College of Midwives chief executive

Royal College of Midwives chief executive Gill Walton receives threatening tweets after she publicly advised pregnant women to get vaccinated

England's chief nursing officer has spoken out against the 'despicable' abuse faced by nurses and other healthcare professionals during the pandemic.

Her comments came as leading healthcare organisations joined forces to take a stand against abuse after Royal College of Midwives (RCM) chief executive Gill Walton was trolled for encouraging pregnant women to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Violence or abuse will not be tolerated

England’s chief nursing officer Ruth May and RCN general secretary Pat Cullen were among those to voice their support for midwifery colleagues.

Ms May said: 'We will not tolerate abuse or violence towards our colleagues.

'Despite the despicable actions of a minority, the overarching support we

Royal College of Midwives chief executive Gill Walton receives threatening tweets after she publicly advised pregnant women to get vaccinated

Nurses have joined in widespread condemnation of ‘vile’ online abuse directed at midwives for promoting the COVID-19 vaccine to pregnant women
Picture: iStock

England's chief nursing officer has spoken out against the 'despicable' abuse faced by nurses and other healthcare professionals during the pandemic.

Her comments came as leading healthcare organisations joined forces to take a stand against abuse after Royal College of Midwives (RCM) chief executive Gill Walton was trolled for encouraging pregnant women to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Violence or abuse will not be tolerated

England’s chief nursing officer Ruth May and RCN general secretary Pat Cullen were among those to voice their support for midwifery colleagues.

Ms May said: 'We will not tolerate abuse or violence towards our colleagues.

'Despite the despicable actions of a minority, the overarching support we have seen from the wider public has helped carry us through the pandemic and we are proud to have helped millions of patients over the last year.'

RCN, politicians and other healthcare leaders rush to RCM chief’s defence

The RCM released a series of abusive and threatening tweets sent to Ms Walton after she publicly advised pregnant women to get vaccinated.

The hashtag #IstandwithGill trended on Twitter as politicians, healthcare leaders and others all rushed to her defence.

‘Totally unacceptable’ for any healthcare professional to receive abuse, says RCN

The RCM’s decision to publish the offensive Tweets comes amid concern about increasing levels of abuse and violence directed at nurses, midwives and other healthcare professionals during the pandemic.

A letter condemning the abuse signed by organisations including the RCN, Unison and the British Medical Association was published in The Times on Wednesday.

‘It is totally unacceptable for any healthcare professional to receive abuse for giving the best scientific advice to people,’ said the RCN's Ms Cullen.

Many other nurses also expressed their support.

Abusive messages reported to Twitter and the police

The RCM confirmed the accounts in question – and others who sent abusive messages – had been reported to Twitter and the police. ‘We are hearing reports from our members and other NHS staff that they are also receiving abuse and threats for discussing COVID-19 vaccination with pregnant women,’ said a spokesperson.

‘We will continue to stand up and call out those who unfairly attack any healthcare professional for doing their job.’

The online abuse come just days after a former nurse and anti-vax campaigner was widely criticised for comparing NHS nurses and doctors with Nazis at a rally in London.

Kay Allison Shemirani – known as Kate - urged protesters to get the names of those administering the COVID-19 vaccine and ‘email them to me’.


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