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Abuse of NHS staff totally unacceptable, say health board

Gentleman walking through hospital ward

Hywel Dda University Health Board has strongly condemned the behaviour of those members of the public who abuse NHS staff.

The health board has revealed that in recent months there have been numerous cases of its staff receiving abuse while either working in the community, or on wards in hospitals.

There have also been cases of community health practitioners being confronted, challenged and abused for simply wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) when going out to see patients, despite it being a requirement.

According to the most recent figures available, there were 61 incidents of violence and aggression towards staff recorded in September.

Mandy Rayani, Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience, at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We are seeing a large number of staff reporting incidents of them experiencing abuse from members of the public. Staff who are working very hard to deliver care and treatment are feeling increasingly upset due to verbal abuse, and sometimes threatening and intimidating behaviour by patients and relatives, particularly when being asked to leave a department whilst their relative is being assessed.

“While the majority of the public treat NHS staff with respect, and appreciate the very difficult work they are doing in challenging circumstances, there are sadly a number of people who behave in a way which causes staff to feel at risk. The health board will not hesitate to report such incidents to the police.

“In relation to COVID, while I appreciate there is frustration and fear in communities, I would stress that if people they see a healthcare worker in the community wearing PPE, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are dealing with a COVID case. It is now standard practice for PPE to be worn to protect each other.”