Medical centre staff “at breaking point” due to daily abuse from patients


Unfortunately staff at Alderley Edge Medical Practice spent a large part of their monthly business meeting discussing the abuse of their staff.

Some members of the reception team said last week was the worst they'd ever known it.

Dr Victoria Taylor said "We accept we are not perfect and we deal with people who are worried, ill, in pain or all three. We manage limited resources (appointments, time and communication with health care professionals) and on the frontline are our receptionists.

"They have been highly trained, going through a long induction programme, close supervision and support from a reception manager and practice manager as well as the GP partners."

Despite a recent survey showing 98% of respondents were happy with the interaction they had with the receptionist, the team sadly receive abuse on a daily basis from patients.

Dr Taylor added "They are told they are stupid, obstructive and rude. They have been sworn and shouted at. Often these people refuse to take no for an answer when what they are asking is genuinely not possible for whatever reason. Our staff are at breaking point and we as doctors are struggling to know how to help them.

"Our ultimate sanction is to "off list" someone. I've been in the practice 18 years and can think of only a couple of patients where this has been necessary. However if the current level of behaviour continues we will be issuing warning letters and using the ability to off list patients if they are repeatedly rude to our staff. Nobody should have to come to work fearing verbal abuse from the people they are trying to help.

"We have had to have signs made reinforcing our zero tolerance policy on staff abuse. These are sad times."

Alderley Edge Medical Centre


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Jennifer Youatt
Saturday 20th July 2019 at 10:28 am
I was horrified to read the above. My experience with the Medical Centre staff is only positive. They are a polite, cheerful and helpful team.
Roy West
Sunday 21st July 2019 at 8:55 am
I agree with Dr Taylor, these are sad times indeed. We are fortunate to have such a good health centre after the struggles in the old George Street premises and in my opinion, anybody who abuses the system should be struck off.
Mike Dudley-Jones
Tuesday 23rd July 2019 at 7:04 am
How very sad it is that the well trained and helpful staff at our Meical Centre should have to put up with such appalling behaviour.

What a terrible thing it is that people should fear coming to work, for us, because of the likelihood of abusive behaviour from patients.

I am sure I speak for the majority of the Village residents who are equally horrified that this is happening within our community. I am also sure that I speak on behalf of Alderley Edge Parish Council when I say that we are fully in support of anything that the practice decide to do to address this problem.

Sad times indeed.
Beverley Chapman
Tuesday 23rd July 2019 at 3:47 pm
As Chair of the PPG (patients participation group) I should like to add my thoughts, along with those of our group, that such behaviour is completely unacceptable. We support our practice in any decision they take to address this situation. Our practice staff are completely committed to assisting patients in every aspect - they go way beyond with customer service.
Julie Allison
Tuesday 23rd July 2019 at 7:37 pm
I am appalled to read that the excellent staff at the Alderley Edge Medical Centre are subject to abuse by patients. In my experience they have always been helpful and in my opinion the practice is very well managed.
Judi Goodwin
Tuesday 23rd July 2019 at 8:16 pm
In my experience, we are extremely lucky to have such a caring and considerate team on reception. They provide a valuable link between doctors and patients and, speaking personally, they have always responded brilliantly to my own minor medical emergencies. I have always found them to have the sensitivity and experience to assess patients' need and have done their best to find solutions. They deserve our understanding and applause for the difficult job they do so well, and we owe them all a Very Big Thank You!!!
Charlie Gaughan
Tuesday 23rd July 2019 at 10:24 pm
They may not get it right every time but heres a clue there human every time i used them they go beyond the call of duty no one shouts from the roof top or say thank you its easy to be rude
Duncan Herald
Wednesday 24th July 2019 at 8:15 am
How might one describe the people behind the counter?
How about friendly, capable, available and caring?
Jon Williams
Wednesday 24th July 2019 at 10:51 am
One problem could be lack of parking, cars parked on double yellow lines all over this morning.
Remember when they said "we don't need a bigger car park" how wrong they were, get the allotments turned into a car park and garden/seating area.
Graham McLelland
Wednesday 24th July 2019 at 3:00 pm
Who would have thought that this behaviour could happen in Alderley Edge.It is a great shame the staff do a fantastic job and we have always found them Very helpful.
Terry Bowes
Wednesday 24th July 2019 at 6:25 pm
Now then Jon most of the parking seems to be taken up by folk in gym gear heading for the top floor. The Staff and Doctors are brilliant and I can’t thank them enough for looking out for me. As for parking look at the plans for land north of Beech Road! Could be 17 or so new allotments on that site. Doesn’t take much to figure out that one will be passed for building.
Lisa Reeves
Thursday 25th July 2019 at 11:14 am
Just received this message from Dr Victoria Taylor "Thanks again for your support and interest.

"We’ve had so many patients coming in and supporting our receptionists after your article on abuse. It shows what good circulation you have and also what a lovely village we live and work in."