UK health organisations come together to call out against abuse

on 04 August 2021

Leading organisations, which include the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), UNISON and the NHS confederation who represent thousands of midwives and other health workers, have come together to call out the abuse they have been subjected to during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A letter, that will be published in The Times, highlights the support CEO of RCM Gill Walton after she received threatening abuse through social media following her media appearance on encouraging women to take up the offer of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The organisations are also calling out abuse and threatening behaviour towards health and care workers.

She said: “Over the past 16 months, health and care workers have been working under incredible stress, with increased demands and less staff because of the pandemic, yet still they have strived to provide the best possible care. I know the vast majority of the public incredibly grateful for that dedication and commitment. However, too many health and care workers have faced abuse from a small but vocal minority, from COVID deniers to anti-vaxxers.

“Our midwives, doctors, nurses, porters, cleaners, everyone working for the NHS, has the right to safety and respect in the workplace. To those who abuse us for simply making polite requests to wear masks or to maintain social distance in hospitals or GP practices, to those who deny the existence of the pandemic of the science of vaccination, to those who issue death threats of incite violence against us, we say enough is enough.”

UNISON General Secretary Christina McAnea said: “The overwhelming majority of people value and appreciate everything NHS staff have done throughout the pandemic. It’s health workers that have made the vaccination programme such a success. But as they encourage everyone to have their jabs, some have suffered appalling abuse. This must stop.

“The pandemic is real, and the virus can kill. Anti-vaxxers and Covid deniers are entitled to their opinions. But they must be prevented from hounding dedicated NHS staff, who must be protected so they can do their jobs in peace.”

Signatories of the letter being published in The Times include UNISON, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, NHS Confederation, British Medical Association, and the Royal College of Nursing.