DrDoctor: Rising wait times increase healthcare staff abuse

A survey from DrDoctor shows abuse aimed at healthcare professionals is due to long waiting lists. CEO Tom Whicher says technology can change this

According to a new survey by DrDoctor, 75% of non-medical, patient facing health workers  (such as receptionists and ward clerks) have reported that rising hospital wait times have led to an increase in abuse from patients or their family members over the past year.

 

Long waiting lists are a root cause for abuse of healthcare staff

The data found that 56% of hospital administrators have either been threatened whilst at work, or fear being threatened whilst on shift. 48% said that the abuse was during a phone call, compared to 23% who witnessed this in person. Many respondents said that they had witnessed a colleague being abused in the form of:

  • Shouting (47%)
  • Swearing (44%) 
  • Threatening language / passive aggressive comments (51%)
  • Offensive gestures (20%)
  • Racial abuse (13%) 
  • Pushing or spitting (13%)

The research highlights a correlation between rising waiting lists and abuse of staff, with 69% of respondents citing lengthy waiting lists as the main cause of this abuse.

Yet 86% said that they empathised with patients' frustrations.

 

Using new technologies to uphold a hybrid healthcare system

Commenting on the data, Tom Whicher, CEO of DrDoctor, said that the wait list problem is much more than the queue for an appointment. 

“Patients often associate long wait lists with just waiting for an appointment. We’re seeing that this is causing huge amounts of frustration that sadly, hospital administrators – who are often the first point of contact for the patient – are bearing the brunt of.

“In many cases, the waiting list actually starts from the second a patient is referred to the hospital. It’s the full referral process. So if we’re to ease the pressure on patient-facing staff, then simply put, healthcare services need to undergo changes that support digitising the infrastructure around the entire process. Deploying technology that upholds a hybrid healthcare system is key. Once appointments can be booked and managed by patients, there will be less fear and uncertainty around their care. Enabling patients to take more control will ease their frustration while also reducing the pressure that frontline workers face.”

 

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