'I'm going to smash your face in' - NHS staff reveal abuse from patients during pandemic

NHS staff in Lanarkshire have told of the abuse they have received from members of the public during the Covid pandemic.

In a new campaign video raising awareness of the issue, staff recall threats, insults and racism they have been subject to in recent months.

Testimonies come from a range of professionals including nurses, consultants and staff at Covid vaccination centres.

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"You’re the doctor, I’m the patient. I can speak to you however I want,” consultant Eugene Wong recalls a patient telling him.

NHS LanarkshireNHS Lanarkshire
NHS Lanarkshire

He adds: “He got out of his chair, went right up to my face, and said I’m going to ******* smash your face in.”

Andrea McIlroy, who works at a vaccination centre, tells of a patient saying they would take her name and get their family to sue her if they died following the Covid vaccine.

Stewart Robertson, another vaccinator, was told: “It’s your fault if I die.”

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In a joint statement, Heather Knox, Chief Executive of NHS Lanarkshire, Ross McGuffie, Chief Officer of Health and Social Care North Lanarkshire and Marianne Hayward, Interim Chief Officer of South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said there will be zero tolerance of such behaviour towards staff.

“Sadly, we know this offers a harrowing snapshot of the harsh reality our health and social staff are experiencing on a wider basis due to the behaviour of a minority of people,” they said.

“We have a clear message to those who would display any form of violent or aggressive behaviour, be it verbal or physical, towards our staff: It never has been tolerated and it will certainly not be tolerated now.

“We are continually working in partnership with local police in the management of aggressive and violent individuals and we will continue to do so."

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The leaders said abuse of staff has coincided with higher than usual pressure on the NHS in recent weeks, which will not dissipate when Scotland moves beyond Level 0 on Monday.

"We have a very long way to go in the recovery process and we’ve called on the people of Lanarkshire to play their part by turning to the right place at the right time to help alleviate the pressures,” they said.

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