Top York doctor condemns rising violence against GPs

A senior doctor from York has labeled the increasing violence against doctors and GP practice staff across the country as ‘totally unacceptable’.

Professor Mike Holmes, of York’s primary care provider Nimbuscare, says figures from police forces across the UK showed violent incidents at GP practices had doubled in less than five years.

“The police recorded 1,068 violent incidents between 2021 and 2022, compared to 586 between 2017 and 2018. “This is totally unacceptable.”

He said a study by the British Medical Journal also found that the number of attacks on operations and health centers with injuries had nearly doubled.

In his weekly column for The Press, he said he could easily say this was understandable given the pressures and difficulties the country was facing.

“But is it actually acceptable to abuse or attack someone…especially if they’re trying to help?

“Of course we understand the frustration, although taking it out on a receptionist, nurse, manager or doctor is unlikely to change anything materially.”

The data on violence was collected from 32 British police forces under Freedom of Information (FOI) requests from the British Medical Journal (BMJ)

Most of the reports resulted from threats of violence, verbal attacks and ‘malicious communication’, but 182 cases involved physical violence.

Prof Homes also had positive words for volunteers who had worked hard for Nimbuscare, involving 11 GP practices in the York area.

He said it had benefited from more than 10,000 volunteer hours in the past 12 months, with volunteers ranging from 16 years to 86 years old.

“We couldn’t provide the service without them,” he said. “They are a pleasure to work with and our volunteer program is well recognized by the NHS for its part in the successful execution of our vaccination programme.”

He said Nimbuscare believed passionately in effective collaboration in primary care and with the wider health system and with the support of the local clinical commissioning group had developed a system to provide early support to practices.

“This system has prevented practices from coming under real pressure and has kept them open at times and able to offer more appointments and improve access to care,” he said.

Meanwhile, Prof Holmes said Nimbuscare was looking forward to supporting both York Pride and the St Leonard’s Hospice Jubilee Walk on June 18.

“Our teams will participate in both, so please come and offer your support if you can,” he said.

“At the end of the month, we will open our new community care center in Acomb Garth – another example of innovation and collaboration.”

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