GP surgery slams "unacceptable abuse" amid staff shortage

Orchard Surgery on Commercial Road in Dereham. Picture: Danielle Booden

Orchard Surgery on Commercial Road in Dereham. - Credit: Danielle Booden

A surgery has slammed the “unacceptable” abuse being directed at workers as they battle challenges brought about by crippling staff shortages.

Orchard Surgery, in Dereham, said violent and aggressive behaviour towards employees would not be tolerated amid “ongoing pressures”.

NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has, meanwhile, pledged to provide support and guidance to the practice manager.

Orchard Surgery on Commercial Road in Dereham. Picture: Danielle Booden

Orchard Surgery on Commercial Road in Dereham. - Credit: Danielle Booden

As of Tuesday (November 9), the GP on Commercial Road was only offering same-day appointments on an urgent basis.

And, in a statement penned by employees and posted on Facebook, the team said the majority of patients had been supportive during what it called a “very busy and challenging time for local health care services”.

But they went on to launch a stinging rebuke of a small number of patients who have apparently taken out their frustrations on staff.

Abusive messages on social media were also condemned.

Orchard Surgery on Commercial Road in Dereham. Picture: Danielle Booden

Orchard Surgery on Commercial Road in Dereham. - Credit: Danielle Booden

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“The team here continue to work tirelessly to provide a high level of care for local people during these difficult times,” the statement said.

“The majority of residents continue to be very supportive of our staff.

“But sadly we are seeing a minority of people engaging in behaviours and attitudes that are unacceptable, and we would urge people to show patience and kindness towards our staff.

“Any form of violent or aggressive behaviour towards staff, be it verbal or physical, will not be tolerated. This includes people posting abusive messages on social media.”

Orchard Surgery on Commercial Road in Dereham. Picture: Danielle Booden

Orchard Surgery on Commercial Road in Dereham. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Orchard Surgery patients have been encouraged to seek alternative treatment options, where clinically appropriate, by phoning NHS 111 or visiting 111.nhs.uk, or speak to a pharmacist.

The practice also highlighted its inability to accept or register new patients for the foreseeable future.

A spokesperson for the local CCG, which commissions health services, said: “The CCG team is supporting the practice manager, and South Norfolk Healthcare CIC is providing the surgery with practical support and guidance.”

South Norfolk Healthcare CIC is a membership organisation supporting practices in the southern half of Norfolk.

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