Yate NHS staff speak out in campaign to stop abuse and violence from public
STAFF from the NHS Yate Minor Injury Unit say they feel vulnerable and fearful after a rise in violent and aggressive behaviour from the public.
MIU deputy matron Lizzy Hooper and receptionist Donna Walker have called for more kindness and understanding from patients and relatives as part of a campaign by the Bristol area's NHS health and care organisations, called 'It’s not OK'.
It was launched as the trust which runs Bristol's city centre hospitals reported a 46% increase in incidents of violence and aggression, both verbal and physical, from 881 in the year to March 2020 to 1,284 in 2020/21.
Since April this year the rate has risen still further, with 917 cases in the eight months to the end of November.
Sirona, which provides staff at the MIU, reported a 15% increase in incidents of abuse and violence across its sites in the space of a year.
Lizzy (pictured above, left) said: "I shouldn’t have to be fearful for my team’s safety, yet this is a large part of what I am facing at the moment.
"We work very hard to ensure people in our care can be safely assessed and supported with their health care needs.
"It can be very challenging when individuals expect us to be able to see conditions we are not able to treat; we can only see minor injuries less than two weeks old.
"Some people visiting the department are reluctant to accept there are more appropriate options available to meet their needs.
"We would ask people to be kind and understand the pressures that we are all facing in these challenging times.”
Donna (right) said: "I can feel quite vulnerable while working at the front desk and not knowing who I may deal with every day, particularly when it is really busy.
"It can also feel very unsettling and demoralising when trying to help a person, only to be yelled at and sworn at along with negative and quite mean comments made towards me and my colleagues.”
Extra demand for services, short staffing and frustrations over booking appointments have added to the pressure at local surgeries.
A CCG spokesperson said: "Whilst the majority of patients and visitors to healthcare settings are respectful and appreciative, there has continued to be a worrying rise in abusive behaviour during the pandemic."
The CCG said violent, aggressive and abusive incidents can have a "lasting impact" on NHS staff and called on patients and relatives to remember "they are people, too".