A recent document from NHS England has revealed details of a new government grant designed to help GPs improve security facilities at their practices.

The grant comes as part of a wider campaign to tackle abuse of GPs and their teams, which will include a zero-tolerance campaign and the development of new communications tools to help patients understand how they can access the care they need.

NHS England have said that they will “immediately establish a £5m fund to facilitate essential upgrades to practice security measures”.

While the document itself doesn’t go into any detail about what will qualify for the grant, the Health Secretary Sajid Javid clarified on BBC Breakfast that the grant will cover security products like “CCTV”, “panic buttons” or “other kinds of support”.

It is absolutely vital that doctors surgeries across the country are able to access the security tools they need to keep their staff and patients safe, especially with the challenges and disruption caused by social distancing measures. Studies have shown that even something as simple as a panic button to alert colleagues that a situation is arising can lead to increased safety, as people can respond quickly to defuse things before they get out of hand.

With the recent NHS Staff Survey finding that more than a third of doctors have recently experienced verbal abuse, incidents of harassment and abuse are currently a massive issue for the NHS. Many surgeries are dealing with a return to face to face appointments amid unprecedented strain on the entire healthcare sector, and a shift to new ways of working with telephone and video appointments here to stay.

Many people in the sector note that it is the rise of telephone appointments, a requirement due to the pandemic, that may be causing the increase in harassment of doctors and staff. Patients may feel that they are not able to access the care that they need. The report also sets out a wide range of initiatives to help with this situation, from extra funding for additional appointment slots through to new communication campaigns to help patients understand the range of care options that may be appropriate to their needs.

Regardless of the wider issues, harassment and abuse of healthcare workers is an unacceptable problem, and the fund has been welcomed as an opportunity to bring tools and security practices in GP surgeries in line with the wider corporate world.

At Little Green Button, our panic alarm software is widely used across the healthcare sector, and we understand the unique challenges of organisations in this industry. We’re ready to help support Trusts, CCGs or surgeries with their application for funding, and can work with you to develop bespoke security options.

We can work with those across the NHS, from funding managers at Clinical Commissing Groups and NHS Foundation Trusts, right through to practice managers for individual surgeries. We work with organisations of all sizes, from small practices right through to large hospitals. Find out more on our dedicated healthcare sector page.