Skip to content
Login Register

Joint statement on abuse of health and care staff

02 Oct 2021

Read the joint statement published by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges condemning the abuse of health and care staff.

This joint statement was published by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.

“Health and care staff have been subject to a growing tide of abuse from sections of the public and patients over the last few months. There have been particularly visible and distressing incidents directed at primary care staff in recent weeks. However this phenomenon is happening right across health and care. As well as GPs and their teams, ambulance staff, receptionists, call handlers, staff working in urgent and emergency care, vaccinators, midwives, social care staff and nurses and others all report an unprecedented rise in abuse directed towards them.

In addition we know that violence against NHS staff has, sadly, been part of the healthcare landscape for too long.

As organisations representing staff and employers we are absolutely clear that verbal or physical abuse of health and care staff is completely unacceptable in any setting including on social media.

We understand that patients become frustrated at long waits, delays in their care or other problems in the delivery of the services they rightly expect.

However blaming individual members of staff, whether clinical or administrative, for systemic problems caused by huge increases in demand coupled with a lack of resources and workforce capacity is completely inappropriate. It leads to demoralisation, burnout and illness for the individuals and further worsens pressure on services more widely.

The health and care system were under strain long before COVID. But the pandemic multiplied those pressures, putting unprecedented strain on services. And that challenge is going to continue for some long time to come as waiting lists and restricted access to services will get worse before they get any better.

Government and the media both have a responsibility to be honest and transparent with the public about the pressures facing health and care services and that this is going to have direct implications for patients and their carers. This means making clear that the problems are systemic and that blaming and abusing individual staff members is never acceptable behaviour”

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges

Chaand Nagpaul, Chair of Council, British Medical Association

Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive NHS Employers,/Deputy Chief Executive NHS Confederation

Gill Walton, General Secretary, Royal College of Midwives

Susan Aitkenhead, UK Director of Nursing and Deputy General Secretary/CEO Royal College of Nursing

Sara Gorton, Head of Health UNISON

Categories: Wellbeing, Workforce

Share this story:

Latest news and statements

Key priority areas

Workforce Recovery and Transformation
Health services in many parts of the world are over-stretched due to workforce shortages, rising demand for services and difficulties in retaining staff.
Read more
A healthy healthcare workforce is essential for patient care. When the workforce is exhausted, experiencing burnout, and struggling to balance their work and personal lives, it impacts on everyone.
Read more
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
We are committed to standing up for equality, diversity and inclusion. We want our College to reflect the diversity in the NHS workforce and in the patients that we care for.
Read more
Climate Change and Sustainability
Climate change has caused great harm to our planet and warnings of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding will all place a significant burden on our health outcomes.
Read more
Health Inequalities
The health inequalities in our society have been both highlighted and exacerbated by the covid pandemic. There is a need to do things differently.
Read more
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the lives of healthcare professionals, and the urgent need to learn whilemfocusing on delivering the best care for our patients has been an enormous challenge.
Read more



Key links

Contact us

Log in

Log in to access your Dashboard, book events, pay your subscriptions and access eLearning material.

Log in

Register an account

New users must register before logging in. You do not need to be a member of the College in order to register.



Having difficulty registering or logging in? Forgotten your username or password?

Get Help