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Shocking abuse from patients recounted by NHS staff in video

Employers urge staff to report aggressive or racist incidents as vaccine rollout continues
Still from video showing nurse Sharon Ghani, who says she received racist abuse because of her family name

Employers urge staff to report incidents of aggression or racism as COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues

NHS staff have appeared in a video recounting abuse they have been subjected to by patients, including slurs, swearing, racial abuse and threats of legal action.

The 90-second video by NHS Lanarkshire in Scotland begins with a montage of people clapping in March 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, when healthcare staff were thanked for their work.

Staff describe instances of racist abuse, obscenity and anger

Next up is the date August 2021 and health board staff appear in

Employers urge staff to report incidents of aggression or racism as COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues

Still from video showing nurse Sharon Ghani, who says she received racist abuse because of her family name
Nurse Sharon Ghani says she received racist abuse because of her family name

NHS staff have appeared in a video recounting abuse they have been subjected to by patients, including slurs, swearing, racial abuse and threats of legal action.

The 90-second video by NHS Lanarkshire in Scotland begins with a montage of people clapping in March 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, when healthcare staff were thanked for their work.

Staff describe instances of racist abuse, obscenity and anger

Next up is the date August 2021 and health board staff appear in turn recounting recent episodes of abuse they have received.

Nurse Sharon Ghani of Burnbrae Medical Practice in Shotts, North Lanarkshire, says she received racist abuse because of her family name and someone told her: ‘You should be ashamed to call yourself a nurse, youse just don’t give a ****.’

Fellow nurse, COVID-19 vaccination team member Andrea McIlroy, recounts an incident in which somebody said: ‘It’s your fault if I die because of this vaccine… I’ll take your name and I’m to get my family to sue you whenever I die after this vaccine.’

‘Violent or aggressive behaviour, be it verbal or physical, towards our staff never has been tolerated and it will certainly not be tolerated now’

Statement by senior healthcare officials

Another nurses and vaccination team member, Sandra Clark, recalls a patient saying: ‘I don’t even believe COVID exists – are you going to inject me with a blood clot just now?’

‘Harrowing snapshot’ of the reality for healthcare staff

A joint statement on the abuse by NHS Lanarkshire chief executive Heather Knox, Health and Social Care North Lanarkshire chief officer Ross McGuffie and South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership interim chief officer Marianne Hayward describes the clip as a ‘harrowing snapshot’ of the reality health and social care staff are experiencing.

They urge staff to report such incidents to their line manager so action can be taken against perpetrators. ‘We have a clear message to those who would display any form of violent or aggressive behaviour, be it verbal or physical, towards our staff: It never has been tolerated and it will certainly not be tolerated now,’ they said.

‘We have an equally clear message to our staff and partners: we have your back.’

The video follows widespread condemnation of online abuse endured by some healthcare staff over the COVID-19 vaccine. They include Royal College of Midwives chief executive Gill Walton, who was trolled on Twitter for encouraging pregnant women to have the vaccine.

Health organisations including the RCN sent an open letter published in The Times calling for an end to the abuse.


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