Hero GPs being abused

By Gareth Wyn Williams   |   Local democracy reporter   |
Monday 23rd November 2020 3:00 pm
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Patients hailed staff at Ramsey Group Practice as heroes during the Covid lockdown ()

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During the Covid-19 lockdown, they were hailed as heroes.

But now staff at the island’s GP surgeries say they are receiving abuse from the patients they are there to help.

Abusive comments directed at staff at Ramsey Group Practice have reached such a level that some team members say they are going to resign.

’As you can appreciate this has been upsetting for us all. Although these patients are in the minority the incidents are increasing,’ the surgery posted on Facebook. ’We are all the same staff that were your heroes a few months ago, being praised and thanked for keeping you all safe but now sadly we seem to be on the end of some very nasty comments which have been directed at us all.’

Patients are launching a petition calling for the practice to return to pre-Covid working.

But the surgery insists it is following the health department’s standard operating procedures for this current Covid phase.

This involves triaging patients over the phone, telephone appointments, and providing face-to-face treatment only where clinically necessary and safe to do so.

’This is for our patients’ safety primarily but also our staff. We cannot simply "go back to how it was" sadly,’ said practice manager Mandy Phillips. ’It saddens me greatly to hear that some of our patients are disappointed with the service we are providing despite the very best efforts of our team.’

GPs at the Ramsey Group Practice have more than 70 patient contacts each per day, which are a mixture of triage telephone calls and face to face appointments.

The surgery accepts that the current system may not be liked by all patients, but this is the only way it can keep up with current demand while following guidance from the department.

A backlog of patients built up during the lockdown and the practice also ran a flu clinic at Ramsey Courthouse at the beginning of October, with hundreds getting vaccinated with no appointment needed.

With no provision for GPs to get waiting list initiative money as Noble’s do, staff at Ramsey Group Practice have been asked to work their days off, come back from retirement and work at weekends. Locum GPs have also been employed.

’To hear that this still isn’t good enough has been quite a blow to us all,' said Ms Phillips.

Health Minister David Ashford told a Covid-19 press briefing at the end of October he was disappointed to hear of patients being rude or even aggressive to receptionists at GP surgeries.

He said while Covid-19 has been kept at bay it has not gone away altogether and it was important that reception staff put their questions to patients before booking an appointment.

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