A marked increase in patient impatience has led to an appeal from a local health provider.
Balclutha primary care provider Clutha Health First made a public appeal for greater ‘‘kindness and consideration’’ to its staff through media last week, following a recent upsurge in ‘‘verbal aggression’’ from patients.
Chief executive Ray Anton said although the facility had made similar appeals for patience in the past, the number of comments directed at staff recently had been exceptional.
‘‘Over recent months staff have been encountering increasing amounts of unnecessary rudeness, or been faced with verbally aggressive patients. In more recent weeks this has become a more or less daily occurrence.
‘‘Largely it relates to frustrations from a variety of reasons and demanding what sometimes we are not able to deliver.’’
Mr Anton acknowledged the facility had been under› resourced recently due to Covid›19 and flu›related sickness among staff, but said that was no excuse for incivility. He said the level of harassment had risen to become a ‘‘significant concern’’. ‘‘Our staff are feeling the same stress [as patients] and are doing their best. We are concerned with their welfare and would like them to feel safe at work.’’
Clutha Health First was not unique in experiencing the continuing impacts of an ‘‘unprecedented’’ pandemic situation, he said.
‘‘The pandemic has had a major impact on the capacity of health systems right across the country to allow the continuation and delivery of essential health services.
‘‘With a small, stable workforce, we have seen many of our staff impacted due to staff illness, isolation rules and wider household sickness.
‘‘They have worked over and above their expectations to manage health services during this time to ensure the needs of our community is met.’’
Mr Anton said the facility had ‘‘advanced’’ security systems, and staff were trained in de› escalation techniques.
‘‘We’d ask everyone to be kind and considerate during this time.’’