Open letter from all Kent and Medway health CEOs, AO, MDs and chair
Working in the NHS is very special – it is often seen as a vocation; we recognise what a privileged position we hold.
Our people feel pride in what they do; they join the healthcare profession because they want to help others and make a real difference to people’s lives.
The overwhelming majority of our patients, clients and service users are respectful of the years of training and the skills healthcare professionals have developed so they can care for others.
People understand the caring and compassionate nature that makes someone want to work for the NHS; whether they are clinicians or in support roles.
The past 18 months during the Covid-19 pandemic, in particular, have demonstrated the passion with which our staff go above and beyond every day and the risks they expose themselves to as they do so.
But even before that, our teams were committed to high-quality patient care across Kent and Medway and they remain so now.
We understand the frustration when you may have to wait a little longer at a clinic appointment, urgent treatment centre or emergency department, or when you may not be able to get through to a GP practice on the phone.
Some people don’t understand why we are still asking them to wear masks in healthcare settings when they don’t wish to do so. We also know others don’t wish to participate in the Covid-19 vaccination programme. The second is a personal choice; the first keeps our staff safer.
However, what we cannot accept is abuse – verbal or physical – towards our workforce. They are there to help, not be abused.
NHS staff across Kent and Medway are reporting more and more incidents of the abuse they face when they go into work.
We ask the small minority of people engaging in this behaviour stop and think of the impact it can have on individuals; on their families and on the NHS and to stop it.
Today, we are launching our #notinadayswork campaign to remind people that abuse of NHS staff never has been and never will be acceptable.
Please don’t take frustrations or objections to Covid-19 rules out on our workforce. It really is not in a day’s work.
Wilf Williams, Accountable Officer, NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group
Louise Ashley, Chief Executive, Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust
Susan Acott, Chief Executive, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust
Paul Bentley, Chief Executive, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust
Helen Greatorex, Chief Executive, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust
Dr Gaurav Gupta, Chair, Kent Local Medical Committee
Martin Riley, Managing Director, Medway Community Healthcare
Dr George Findlay, Chief Executive, Medway NHS Foundation Trust
Miles Scott, Chief Executive, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust
Philip Astle, Chief Executive, South East Coast Ambulance Service
Patrick Burchill, Managing Director, Virgin Care