Safety and Security in GP Surgeries in the UK

Across the UK, GP surgeries are facing unique challenges and now more than ever, ensuring the safety and security of staff and patients alike is crucial.

This blog post focuses on actionable tips on mitigating workplace violence and aggression within these healthcare settings. By supporting these community health hubs, such security measures play a significant role in enhancing overall health outcomes in the UK. This post also offers tips on risk assessment and improving the security of your GP surgery.

A downloadable checklist is available at the end of the article to help assess your surgery and pinpoint areas for improvement.

Unique Challenges of GP Surgeries in the UK

GP surgeries face a number of unique challenges, shaped by the healthcare system, patient demographics, and the operational environment. Some key challenges include:

1. High Patient Demand and Diverse Needs

With a growing and ageing population, GP surgeries often face high patient volumes, leading to longer waiting times for appointments. This can create pressure on the healthcare system, stretching resources thin. GP surgeries in the UK also have to cater to a diverse population with varied healthcare needs. This includes managing chronic diseases, mental health issues, and providing preventive care, which requires a broad spectrum of medical knowledge and resource.

2. Workforce Shortages

The NHS frequently grapples with staffing shortages, including GP’s and nursing staff. This can result in increased workload for existing staff, potentially impacting the quality of patient care and staff well-being.

3. Funding Constraints

Budget limitations can impact the resources available to GP surgeries, from staffing to medical equipment and facilities. This challenge necessitates efficient use of resources and sometimes innovative solutions to deliver effective care.

4. Regulatory and Administrative Burden

Surgeries often face a significant amount of administrative work, including patient documentation, compliance with healthcare regulations, and managing referrals. This can reduce the time available for direct patient care.

5. Workplace Violence and Aggression

Like many healthcare settings, GP surgeries in the UK face issues of workplace violence and aggression from patients or visitors, which can impact staff safety and morale.

Addressing these challenges requires a multifaceted approach, including policy support, investment in healthcare infrastructure, staff support, and embracing technological advancements to improve efficiency and patient care..

Understanding Workplace Violence and Aggression

The risks of workplace violence and aggression are significant in healthcare settings, including GP surgeries. Incidents where staff are abused, threatened, or assaulted can lead to severe physical and psychological harm, underscoring the importance of proactive security measures.In fact this month, the Health and Safety Executive highlighted that people working in the Human health/social work and public administration had significantly higher rates of work-related ill health and workplace non-fatal injury than all other sectors. You can read more about these statistics here.


8 Tips for Improving Safety in GP Surgeries


1. Audit your Surgery 

Use our free template to identify improvement areas, including policies, staff training, and systems. Click here to download the Safety Checklist.

2. Implement Physical Security Measures

Integrate access control systems, physical panic alarms as a deterrent , surveillance cameras, and appropriate lighting.

3. Conduct Regular Risk Assessments

Proactively identify and mitigate security risks related to workplace violence and aggression. Click here to download a risk assessment template.

4. Install Discreet On-Screen Panic Buttons

Equip your surgery with tools like Little Green Button for quick emergency response. Little Green Button sits discreetly on top of all other applications on your desktop, allowing staff to silent summon help if needed. The Big Green Button is a physical alarm and a visual deterrent against acts of aggression. Click here to learn about some of the benefits of panic alarms software in healthcare settings.

5. Develop Comprehensive Policies and Procedures

Address workplace violence and aggression, ensuring regular review and updates. More information about policies and procedures in the Safety Checklist below.

6. Provide Staff Training and practice drills

Educate staff on recognising and responding to signs of workplace violence and aggression. This blog post gives more details about how to do this.

7. Foster a Supportive Work Culture

Promote open communication and encourage incident reporting. Listen to our podcast with Lizzie Benton, Culture Coach at Liberty Mind, who is also the host of Make It Thrive: The Company Culture Podcast.

8. Prioritise Lone Healthcare Workers’ Safety

Develop policies to keep community healthcare workers safe. More information here.


Prioritising the security of GP Surgeries in the UK, ensures that staff members can deliver exceptional care while feeling protected and confident in their work environment. The implementation of discreet on-screen duress alarms is a proactive measure that can significantly impact the lives of those working in the medical field.

Contact Little Green Button today and empower your surgery with a reliable and effective security solution. Safeguard your staff, patients, and the community you serve.


Ready to audit your surgery?
Click here to download our safety checklist for GP surgeries in the UK

Checklist for UK GP surgeries here