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GP practices see an increase in abuse from patients after lockdown

NHS staff at GP surgeries are facing increasing levels of abuse and aggression from patients.

A recent poll by the body that represents GP surgery staff across the UK found that 75% of them face abuse every day. This includes assaults, threats, racism and sexism.

This increase in abuse comes alongside a huge increase in demand on GP services from patients after the recent coronavirus lockdowns.

Increase in patient demand on GP practices

NHS figures released this month show that GP practices in England delivered almost 5 million more appointments in March 2021 than they did the previous month. This was nearly 3 million more appointments than in March 2019.

Some practices have also seen an increase in abuse since NHS England released its face-to-face order. This guidance advised that GP patients must be offered a face-to-face appointment if that is their preference.

Pulse recently reported that practices have seen an ‘increase in patient anger’ since the release of the letter, with many GPs now reporting that they are receiving abuse from patients almost every day.

Zero Tolerance policy

Any abuse towards NHS staff is unacceptable and must not be tolerated.

The NHS currently has a ‘Zero Tolerance’ campaign for all Health Service Staff. This states that GPs and their staff have a right to care for others without fear of being attacked or abused.

Patients must be made aware that any aggressive behaviour, be it violent or abusive, will not be tolerated and may result in a patient being removed from the practice list.

To help support practices make patients aware of this, we have now added a Zero Tolerance towards abuse video to our Envisage Media library. The new video advises patients that any form of abuse will not be tolerated and that examples of abuse should be reported to a member of staff as soon as possible.

More Information

For more information about using Envisage waiting room TV to share important messages with your patients, such as mental health problems, then please contact our team on 0114 243 3896, or email:

If you are an existing Envisage user and would like help adding any content to your Envisage system then please contact our dedicated technical support team on 0114 399 0010, or email: