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GHA Director General warns of zero tolerance stance on abusive behaviour

Photo by Johnny Bugeja.

The GHA Director General, Dr Patrick Geoghegan, has warned there will be a zero tolerance on abusive behaviour towards GHA staff carrying out their duties.

Dr Geoghegan said he was saddened and disappointed by recent acts of aggression, and highlighted incidents at the Mid Town Covid-19 testing facility, Elderly Residential Services and Accident and Emergency, where staff have reported multiple incidents of verbal abuse and threatening behaviour by members of the public in recent weeks.

These incidents of aggression came to the forefront on Tuesday night when Accident and Emergency night staff were verbally abused and threatened over waiting times for life-saving emergency treatment.

The GHA said it will continue to enforce its zero tolerance policy towards such repugnant acts, and any incidences of aggression towards GHA staff will be reported to the Royal Gibraltar Police for investigation.

“GHA staff are working tirelessly on the frontline of a global pandemic,” GHA Director General, Dr Patrick Geoghegan, said.

“They deserve to be thanked and applauded every day just as they were at the height of lockdowns. GHA staff work to save lives and provide a service to the public, and abusive language and behaviour directed towards them will never be tolerated. All incidents will be reported to the Royal Gibraltar Police.”

“The public’s frustration with Covid-19 mitigation measures and waiting times is understandable, but this can’t be taken out on the staff who are working hard to provide the best service possible at this time of high demand.”

“Indeed, there are ways to help by using GHA services properly and responsibly. Only use Accident and Emergency for emergency or life-threatening conditions, and utilise other means of accessing advice and care for everything else.”

Elderly Residential Services have also reported incidents of harassment of residents and abuse of staff by members of the public who did not want to comply with Covid-19 mitigation measures.

“ERS will always prioritise the safety and wellbeing of residents and staff in enforcing these measures,” a statement from the GHA said.

It added: “Members of the public are urged to use GHA resources effectively. This will result in quicker and more effective care in non-emergency situations whilst enabling A&E emergency clinicians to treat the sickest patients in a timely and holistic manner.”

“Please use the GHA properly and responsibly. A&E is for emergency life-saving care.”

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