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BMA calls for tougher custodial sentences following violence against Manchester GP staff

Government must tackle ‘wave of growing abuse’ against GPs and practice staff 

Government must tackle ‘wave of growing abuse’ against GPs and practice staff says British Medical Association

The government has been urged to step in and tackle ‘the wave of growing abuse’ against GPs and practice staff.

In a letter to health and social care secretary Sajid Javid , British Medical Association (BMA) council chair Chaand Nagpaul called for a change in legislation to increase the maximum prison sentence for assault against emergency workers from one to two years.

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Government must tackle ‘wave of growing abuse’ against GPs and practice staff says British Medical Association

British Medical Association calls for tougher custodial sentences following recent violence against staff in Manchester
Picture: Alamy

The government has been urged to step in and tackle ‘the wave of growing abuse’ against GPs and practice staff.

In a letter to health and social care secretary Sajid Javid, British Medical Association (BMA) council chair Chaand Nagpaul called for a change in legislation to increase the maximum prison sentence for assault against emergency workers from one to two years.

It comes after four members of staff were injured at the Florence House Medical Practice in Openshaw, Manchester, on 17 September. Two were taken to hospital with head injuries and a 59-year-old man was arrested and charged with assault.

GPs and practices have also come under fire in the media over the number of remote consultations now offered to patients.

BMA survey reveals extent of verbal abuse

Dr Nagpaul said general practice teams had worked tirelessly over the course of the pandemic, and the narrative that practices are not offering face-to-face appointments was as dangerous as it was inaccurate.

He added: ‘GP practices, in the same way as hospitals, are using telephone, video and online consultations to assess patients (in accordance with NHS England guidance) and provide them with physical face-to-face consultations when this is needed.

‘Many practice premises are too small and poorly ventilated, and with high circulating levels of COVID, we have a duty to protect our older and clinically vulnerable patients from becoming infected when they attend their GP surgery.’

The letter follows a BMA survey in July, in which half (51% or 375) of GPs who responded said they had personally experienced verbal abuse in the past month.

Two thirds (67% or 499) said they had witnessed abuse directed at staff. Another two thirds (67% or 499) said that their experience of abuse had become worse over the past year.


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BMA’s letter to the health and social care secretary Sajid Javid


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