Lanarkshire has seen an increased number of reports of violence and aggression towards care staff this week.

A warning has been issued by one of the area’s health chiefs to say that any form of hostility will not be tolerated.

Reported incidents involve GPs. dental workers, and wider primary and community care staff.

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Dr Linda Findlay, Medical Director of South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “The majority of the public continue to be very supportive of our staff – and our colleagues in primary and community care – and we would thank them for that.

“Sadly, however, we are hearing more reports that, in recent days, a minority have been engaging in behaviours and attitudes that are completely unacceptable.

“We have a very clear message to those who would display any form of violent or aggressive behaviour, be it verbal or physical, towards our staff: It never has been tolerated and it will certainly not be tolerated now.”

Dr Findlay explained that throughout the pandemic, GP practices in Lanarkshire have continued to provide vital healthcare services.

Like many other areas, services have been provided in different ways to ensure everyone’s safety.

The health service stressed that demand for GPs is exceptional during these times as workers continue to look after communities.

Dr Findlay added: “Although in recent days we’ve seen a very welcome relaxation of some restrictions to restore much more normality to our everyday lives, GP services will continue to be provided in line with national guidance to keep everyone safe.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, GP practices have increased their use of remote consultations by phone or video.

"This means most people are now receiving the NHS care and advice they need from their own home to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

“The vast majority of patients are able to have their presenting clinical (non Covid-19) symptoms dealt with by a relevant healthcare professional over the phone.

“For those patients that require a face-to-face consultation, this is being undertaken using Near Me video consulting or an in-person appointment where this offers additional clinical benefit.

“Patients will only receive a face-to-face appointment if necessary, for physical examination or if tests need to be carried out.”

Dr Findlay added: “We’d plea to people to keep bearing with us and please be kind to our staff and colleagues who are committed to caring, no matter the circumstances.”