Though it is our job to support, help and care for our patients, abuse and harassment of staff is worryingly prominent.

Highlighting this, responses to the 2023 Staff Survey revealed that 25% of NHS colleagues disclosed experienced harassment, bullying or abuse from patients and service users, their relatives and the public over the previous year.

Of course, abuse and harassment has consequences. Whether this is by creating doubt and thereby impacting ability to deliver outstanding care; impacting us mentally and causing us to experience or worsen conditions such as anxiety, or impacting our ability to be present and at our best at work. Indeed, over half of national Staff Survey respondents in 2023 disclosed that they’d attended work in the three months prior despite not feeling well enough to perform their duties, while 4 in 10 felt well as a result of work-related stress in the year prior.

Unfortunately, our own staff survey data tells us that Gateshead Health is no exception to these experiences and while we generally sit slightly ahead of national averages, we understand that ultimately no quantity of these experiences is acceptable – and that any number can have a significant impact upon our staff.

This page thereby exists to share more information on what may constitute harassment from a patient; what you should consider doing if you feel you are being targeted by a patient; where you might wish to report instances of harassment and abuse from patients; and the support options available if you’re experiencing this or if you feel a previous experience has had a significant impact upon you.