Respect Us - We're here to help say NHS staff

Posted: December 23, 2015

Please have a thought for staff working through the holidays

Over the holidays, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is reminding local people to have patience with those working in its hospitals and other healthcare services across Wiltshire, at what can be a very busy time for everyone.

At busy times patients and visitors can experience longer waits or difficulty finding a parking space, on occasions leading to some people taking out their frustration on the very staff who are there to help.

The Trust's Respect Us campaign therefore acts as a reminder that any form of verbal or physical abuse is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

The annual NHS Staff Survey showed that 30 per cent of the 456 staff who responded in 2014, had experienced harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, visitors or other members of the public.

Andy Wells, the Trust's Security Management Specialist, said: "As we approach what is a very busy time for everyone, we want to remind everyone that our staff are here to help and always do their best for patients and visitors.

"Apart from the immediate upset to the individual, rude, threatening and aggressive behaviour can cause longer term stress and drive hardworking people out of the NHS at a time when recruitment is a challenge.

"Please be patient and remember our staff are here to help you and are doing their very best, often in very challenging circumstances." 

"Makes the job so much more difficult" 

Dr Stephen Haig, Emergency Department consultant, at the Great Western Hospital, who has experienced both physical and verbal abuse, said: "When something like that happens, it just makes you and the rest of the team feel awful. It makes this job so much more difficult than it already is.

"As doctors and nurses, we are here to help people who are sick and injured and it's completely unacceptable when the very people we are trying to help are rude, aggressive or violent. It's not only upsetting for staff, but can be distressing for other patients and cause delays." 

A car parking attendant at the Great Western Hospital, said: "Working in the car park, my colleague and I often experience swearing, offensive language and aggressive behaviour and only recently someone spat in my face. 

"It's frustrating but we're here to help"

"We don't deserve this and it does get you down after a while. I've lived in Swindon 40 years and what upsets me most is the thought that some of these people are my fellow Swindonians.

"I know when we're busy it's frustrating, but we're human beings doing a job and we're here to help you. Please put yourself in our shoes and show us the respect you would expect yourself."

This campaign is all about protecting the hardworking NHS staff who are here for us 365 days a year, when we are at our most vulnerable and when we need them most.

Patients who continue to be abusive despite a warning can be refused treatment and face tough penalties including police prosecution.

Show your support for our staff this holiday season by using #RespectUs on Twitter and Facebook.  

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