MP Tim Farron has written to the health secretary Sajid Javid challenging him to publicly support GPs and their staff in the wake of a ‘worrying rise’ in abuse from members of the public.

Cumbrian doctors have contacted Mr Farron to say they are ‘incredibly worried’ about the amount of abuse their profession is currently receiving, following the biggest rise in demand for GP services in Morecambe Bay with a rise of 37 per cent in June 2021 compared to June 2019 according to Mr Farron.

It comes as a recent survey published by the British Medical Association found that:

  • 67 per cent of GPs had seen colleagues experience violence or abuse.
  • 96 per cent of GPs said verbal hostility was usually directed at receptionists.
  • 67 per cent of GPs said abuse had worsened over the last year.
  • 64 per cent believed the abuse was prompted by the culprit’s discontent at the care they had received or the waiting time involved.

Writing to the Health Secretary, Mr Farron said: “I am sure you will agree that GPs and their staff team should not be subject to abusive, intimidating or violent behaviour?

"How dispiriting must it feel to be rolling out the vaccine programme, delivering winter flu clinics, seeing increased numbers of patients as well as offering extended surgery opening times and what they receive in return is unrelenting complaints, poor behaviour and negative press articles in the national media wrongly suggesting that general practice has been closed for business throughout the pandemic.

“I, therefore, urge you to personally stand up for GP services and quash the regular perception portrayed in the media that they are not doing their job properly and this means supporting GPs to take appropriate steps to manage the increasing demand for their services, making best use of different consultation styles including remote and face to face options, as they see fit.

“Can l ask what steps you will take in the coming days to address these concerns and openly support general practice, for l fear without such support you will see staff leaving in droves and you having to deal with another crisis in GP recruitment and retention, at a time when it least needs it?”