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Mutual Respect


We have recently welcomed several new Patient Assistants to our team who are very much still learning the job. Our Patient Assistants are your first point of contact and will help you with your query, book you into an appointment or sign post you to the most appropriate healthcare provider. They undergo a comprehensive training programme and are mentored by senior staff to help them learn their role. If there are minor errors which occur in our reception process, please be patient and tolerant with our team, and be assured that they are doing their best. 

From time to time, circumstances beyond our control may mean that it is necessary to either cancel appointments at short notice, spend additional time with a patient resulting in a delay, or that we are unable to provide appointments as quickly as patients would like. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience situations such as these cause. 

Unfortunately, there has been a noticeable increase in the verbal abuse directed towards our Patient Assistants. Rude or abusive behaviour towards any member of staff is not acceptable; this can make our teams’ job incredibly difficult, causes stress and has now resulted in significant gaps within our workforce. This ultimately contributes to longer waiting times on the telephone lines. 

The practice has a zero-tolerance policy, which will be enforced in instances of rude and abusive behaviour; this may result in offenders being removed from the practice list and having to register elsewhere. Our staff have the right to care for you without the fear of being attacked or abused and we ask that you treat our teams courteously and act reasonably.  



Our Care Promise

We strive to provide a consistently reliable and safe healthcare service to reflect your needs and wishes in a caring environment.


In particular we aim:

  • To improve the health of the practice population by offering and promoting health prevention and advice on the self-management of illness.

  • To work as a team to provide a multidisciplinary approach to all care

  • To provide a caring, supportive and safe environment for all staff and patients, and to respect their privacy, dignity and independence.

  • To communicate effectively with both patients and other providers of care to support continuity of care.

  • To monitor achievements, carry out audit, and gather opinions of patients to improve the service we offer.

  • To safeguard confidentiality and information governance

  • To ensure all staff have the opportunity for continual professional development and to promote the training of General Practitioners.

Mutual Respect

  • Be on time for your appointment.

  • Notify the reception staff as soon as possible if you cannot make an appointment.

  • Treat GPs and staff with respect – we do not tolerate violent or abusive behaviour which we would deem unacceptable.

  • Advise the receptionist of any change of address/telephone numbers.

  • Work in partnership with us to achieve the best possible use our services.

Zero Tolerance

Unacceptable behaviour from a service user is deemed as being any behaviour that is directed towards any member of the staff and healthcare team (whether on or off practice premises), or towards patients or others on practice premises including:

  • Physical violence

  • Any type of verbal or physical abuse, including threats or gestures (which would include raising your voice, swearing and cursing)

  • Any type of discriminatory abuse

  • Intentional damage to practice premises

  • Sexual and racial harassment

  • Stalking

  • Inappropriate emotional attachment to the staff or healthcare team member

  • Incitement to, or condoning, such behaviour is also seen as unacceptable and may involve the patient, a relative, or a household member.


Crime and Deception which may include:

  • Fraudulently obtaining drugs / medication

  • Deliberately lying to the doctor or other members of the healthcare team (e.g. by giving a false name or false medical history) in order to obtain a service or benefit by deception

  • Attempting to use the doctor to conceal or aid any criminal activity

  • Stealing from the practice premises or personnel

  • Making a complaint, which is subsequently shown to be activated by malice.

Any instance of or threat of physical abuse will be reported to the police. To ensure the safety of other service users the offender may also be immediately removed form the premise. ​

Our Procedure

The practice has a zero-tolerance stance towards unacceptable behaviour, whether in person or on the telephone. Any such incidents are reported to the Practice Manager and recorded appropriately.

All incidents are reviewed by a GP Partner and when deemed appropriate, in the case of a first offence, a letter will be sent to the person concerned.

A copy of the letter will be filed in the medical record and an alert flag added to ensure the ongoing safety of healthcare staff who may come into contact with the person in the future. This flag may remain on the record until the practice deem that there is no further risk to staff. 

Right of appeal

On receipt of a first 'acceptable behaviour letter', you may appeal in writing to the Practice Manager (at either site) setting out your view. The Senior GP Partner will give due consideration in assessing whether the first warning should still stand and if necessary you may be invited for interview to discuss this further and come to mutually acceptable agreement. The appeal will be filed in the medical record and the outcome communicated by letter.


Irretrievable breakdown of the professional-patient relationship

In the case of a second recorded offence, representing an irretrievable breakdown of the professional-patient relationship, you will be sent a final warning letter informing you of a breach of our Unacceptable Behaviour Policy with an explanation of the reasons why. You will be removed from the patient list and no longer be able to access treatment with Downend Health Group (DHG).

We will then:

  • Notify NHS England in writing of our decision to remove you from our list

  • Explain that you will not be left without a GP and direct you to information on the NHS Choices website

  • Provide information on how to begin the process of registering with another practice

  • Notify you that your family will not be automatically removed from the list

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