Man charged with assault after attack on Manchester GP surgery staff

A man has been charged with assault after four members of staff at a GP surgery in Manchester were attacked on Friday afternoon.

(Photo: Matt Turner/Getty Images)

According to local media reports two of the victims were taken to hospital with head injuries after the incident at the Florence House Medical Practice in Openshaw, Manchester on 17 September.

Manchester LMC chief executive Dr Tracy Vell tweeted that a GP had been left with a fractured skull while other staff had suffered 'deep lacerations' in the attack.

Greater Manchester Police confirmed that a 59-year-old man has been charged with assault, malicious communication and affray following the incident - and will appear at Manchester Magistrates Court today.

BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey, who shared his sympathy for those affected during the incident, urged health leaders to do ‘much more’ to ensure the safety of staff working at practices - condemning the current ‘anti-GP rhetoric’.

Meanwhile, Dr Vell warned the health secretary that frontline staff should not be left to deal with the frustration of angry patients.

GP staff injured

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard also condemned the attack, stressing violence against NHS staff ‘is never acceptable’ as she wished the victims a ‘speedy recovery’. Health secretary Sajid Javid added that violence against those working in the healh service was 'unacceptable'.

Police were called at around 12.30pm on Friday 17 September 2021 to a report of a disturbance at a surgery on Ashton Old Road, Openshaw, Manchester.

A message on the surgery’s website said: ‘The practice and website are temporarily closed due to an incident. We apologise for any inconvenience and will reopen as soon as we can.’

Responding to the incident, Dr Vautrey said: ‘We are truly horrified to hear about this awful attack and our thoughts are with the GPs, practice staff, families and patients who have been injured and affected in this dreadful incident.

Anti-GP rhetoric

‘While the specific circumstances need to be investigated by the police, this assault, though one of the most extreme, is part of a terrible trend of growing abuse, vitriol and violence that is being directed towards our healthcare workers.

‘Abuse of any kind, and particularly physical violence of this nature, cannot and should never be tolerated. GPs and practice staff should never have to fear going to work and patients should also feel confident that their surgery is a place of safety.’

He added: ‘The government and NHS England must act, and fast, before yet more incidents of this severity occur. Being verbally abusive to frontline staff is wrong and unacceptable and physical attacks of this magnitude cannot and should not be allowed to happen again.’

Other GP leaders reacting to the attack in Manchester, appealing for the government to do more to protect those working in general practice.

Earlier this year a BMA survey found that more than half of GPs had personally experienced verbal abuse in the previous month, while over two thirds had witnessed violence or abuse against colleagues.

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