NHS staff abuse: 4,000 police callouts to London hospitals in two years

Police have been called to hospitals in the capital following attacks on medical staff 4,000 times in the past two years.
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Violence and abuse of medical staff has been blasted as “entirely unacceptable” by health chiefs, following thousands of police callouts to London’s hospitals during the pandemic.

Police have been called to hospitals in the capital following attacks on medical staff 4,000 times in the past two years, City Hall was told

Now senior NHS leaders have spoken of the “enormous impact” of the tide of aggression faced by nurses, doctors and hospital staff, as they “care for those who need it most”.

Speaking during a meeting of City Hall’s health committee, Dr Onkar Sahota, Labour health spokesperson, said: “The headline in the Metro on December 24 was ‘nurses are afraid of going to work’.

“On 4,000 occasions police have been called to hospitals in London over the last two years because of attacks on members of staff.

“Of course members of the public are frustrated. Waiting lists have gone up, access to the health service is even more stretched.

“They are taking their anger out on frontline staff - on nurses and doctors, who are the wrong people to be taking that anger out on.”

And Martin Machray, Covid-19 director for NHS England, said: “When I started training as a nurse I remember patients in their sixties, seventies and eighties showing me respect as a 21-year-old that I hadn’t earned and didn’t deserve.

“They were hugely respectful of my profession and the vast majority of the public still are - 99.99% of people absolutely trust and respect medical staff.

“But there has been an increase in the amount of violence and abuse, particularly over the last two years. It has an enormous impact on individuals.”

He added: “I didn’t think I would ever work in a health service where there are security guards at our A&E departments.

“I didn’t ever think we’d be calling the police to help us resolve issues where people are violent and aggressive. The message from me today is that it is unacceptable behaviour.

“People come to work to care for those who need it most.

“Being abused, being hit, physically attacked is entirely unacceptable and you can imagine what that does to clinicians lives.”

And Dr Sahota added: “I myself as a junior doctor saw the respect from the public.

Now we’ve been converted to the recipients of aggression and my inbox is full of this.

“People who are serving the communities and are getting abused for political judgements being made.”

The British Medical Association (BMA) has been contacted for comment.

Have you been affected by abuse working in the NHS? Contact [email protected]