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‘People are being very angry with us’: A&E doctor on abuse of NHS staff

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Dr Katherine Henderson, a senior A&E consultant in London and President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, says physical and verbal attacks have increased in recent months.

Speaking to the Guardian, she says: “It is a sad reality that in recent months there has been a rise in abuse directed towards healthcare workers, but this abuse is not something new to frontline staff or emergency departments. It was bad before the pandemic, but there’s a changed atmosphere now.

“During the pandemic people were being very positive about healthcare workers. But now the public are frustrated that services aren’t getting back to normal. Maybe people who weren’t the source of abuse before are now being the source of abuse. Abuse may be physical or verbal, it may be through social media, or it may be racial or misogynistic.

“People are being angry – very angry – with us. They are angry about long waits, about having to stand outside emergency departments in queues, about delays in ambulances coming, including to take their relative home from hospital. The public haven’t really caught up with how struggling the whole NHS is."

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Source: The Guardian, 10 October 2021

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