Staff at Covid vaccine centre in Portsmouth report an increase in abuse from patients

HARDWORKING staff at a Covid vaccination centre in Portsmouth have been left ‘shocked’ and ‘intimidated’ by growing incidents of abuse from patients.

By Fiona Callingham
Sunday, 7th November 2021, 12:00 am
Updated Monday, 8th November 2021, 8:34 am

The Portsmouth vaccination lead for Solent NHS Trust, Stephanie Clark, said the site at St James’ Hospital had seen an increase in anti-social behaviour towards workers and warned such behaviour would not be tolerated.

She said: ‘Unfortunately at the vaccination centre we’ve seen a small increase in the amount of anti-social and abusive behaviour towards our staff.

‘This is not okay and we have a zero tolerance against abuse.

A file photo of an ambulance in Portsmouth. Picture: Sarah Standing (210319-3418)

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‘We really urge people to think about the person at the other end of that abuse.

‘Our staff should be supported and respected for everything that they are doing to deliver the vaccination programme in a safe and effective way.’

Clinical matron Megan, who did not want her full name published, has been subjected to such behaviour.

She told The News: ‘I have experienced two real cases of abuse from patients while working at the vaccine centre, although we can see the level of abuse has gradually increased as time has gone on.

‘In the first incident a father had brought his 16-year-old son along. The son had already had one vaccine and as per the current government guidelines 16-year-olds can only have one vaccine, but he wanted him to have a second.

‘I tried to explain to him the situation in the best possible way. He wasn’t impressed with my explanation.

‘He became very verbally abusive to me. I did have another clinical staff member with me who was trying to back me up but he wouldn’t accept it.

‘The abuse continued so I showed him out.

‘It’s not nice when you come to work and you’re just trying to do your job. At the time I found it more shocking than upsetting that someone would talk to another human like that. It’s not acceptable at all.

‘The second time it was a adult who had come for a booster. With boosters we are able to give Pfizer but there is an exception if someone has allergies.

‘This woman required a different booster because of her allergies but you need a letter from a doctor to ensure we are able to give it. She didn’t bring one and I explained the situation and tried to help her get the letter sorted. But she verbally abused me, she was very intimidating.’

It comes as The News reported growing cases of abuse against GP surgery staff.

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