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There is a rising trend of violence against healthcare professionals across the world, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Many countries report between 43-75% of professionals experiencing at least one incident in any annual survey. The most recent incident of doctors and healthcare staff in a Manchester City General Practice raised alarms. As the healthcare infrastructure and services are severely stretched following the disruption of 2020, there are more reasons for disquiet and frustration from the public. The media and political portrayal of primary care physicians as not caring enough to provide face-to-face appointments in the UK is believed to increase the public angst. There are protests from professional organisations but this is not heard by the public.
In any violence prevention strategy, a multi-system approach is critical. While tackling misinformation is essential, so is the tackling the root causes, the waiting lists and a balanced information to the public. Political and organisational leaders need to be visible and vocal in explaining why the healthcare infrastructure is beyond breaking point. This will justify the additional resources needed and reduce the frustrations of the public, in need of care.
There is also a vital need to help new doctors and nurses as well as all frontline staff in violence dissipation techniques, self-preservation. The Voluntary community organisations including those that support professional groups have a vital role to play. The NHS People Plan has recommended that VSCEs should join robust and reliable partnerships with Integrated Care Organisations in developing strategies and interventions. There is more work to be done. This article is a call for action and invites all VSCEs interested in the reduction of violence against staff to join with employing organisations to set up collaborative working groups with specific actions to implement. This is essential to reduce harm and reduce the demoralisation of an already burnt-out healthcare workforce.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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