We surveyed our community of 220,000 healthcare professionals to gather novel insights into abuse of NHS staff, quality of NHS care, impact of funding on NHS services, impact of recent NHS reforms and the expected impact of Brexit on NHS budgets and services. 

Cogora's Primary Concerns report surveyed 1,734 primary care workers, including 747 GPs, and found that experiences of physical, verbal and written abuse had gone up across the board. Around 70% of GP practice staff faced some form of abuse in 2016, up from 57% the previous year.

Verbal abuse was the most common form, with 64% of respondents reporting such incidents. It also found that 6% had faced physical abuse- including 7% of nurses and 9% of practice managers.

The survey also found that around 70% of staff believed that the quality of patient care had worsened over the past 18 months.

GP leaders have been reporting a crisis in general practice, with underfunding and lack of available staff leading to increased waiting times and an increased number of practices closing.

Across nurses, practice managers and GPs the reports of abuse stand at:

  • Any form- 70% (up from 57%)
  • Verbal- 64% (up from 54%)
  • Physical- 6% (no change)
  • Written- 24% (up from 12%)

One practice manager contacted in relation to the survey said they were subjected to abuse 'on a weekly basis' added: 'I have no idea why they feel that this is appropriate behaviour. The message that keeps coming through is that they feel they are entitled to privileged treatment that they are not getting even though they have paid for it.'

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the BMA's GP Committee, said: 'It is very concerning that any patient feels that they can act in this way when GPs and their staff are doing their best to help and care for them.

'The NHS must not only adopt a zero tolerance policy to abusive behaviour but must also back up practice staff when they are subjected to these type of incidents.'

The report also found that practice staff believed patient care had worsened- with 69% saying it had got worse, with only 6% saying it had got better.

Download the Primary Concerns 2016 report here, or for any more information, please contact Ellen Murphy on 020 7214 0576 or ellenmurphy@cogora.com

Please attribute this to Cogora, the healthcare research and consulting agency.



1. The survey was answered by 1,734 primary care staff. They included: 747 GPs, 564 nurses, 255 GP practice managers, 66 commissioners and 16 health visitors/ midwives.

2. The survey was distributed to subscribers of The Commissioning Review, Management in Practice, Nursing in Practice and Pulse between 10 August 2016 and 21 September 2016. Respondents who were not currently working as healthcare professionals due to e.g. retirement, or who worked abroad, were excluded.