Staff in Lincolnshire vaccine and test centres subjected to “horrible” racial and verbal abuse

Hard working NHS staff in vaccine and test centres around Lincolnshire have been subjected to verbal and even racial abuse in recent weeks.

Covid-19 Mass Vaccination Centre at the PRSA, Boston. EMN-210118-141045001

The county’s health bosses have now said they are responding and working with police to take a zero tolerance stance on it.

A spokesperson for NHS Lincolnshire CCG explained: “Unfortunately staff working at some of our vaccination and testing sites, as well as at our GP practice sites, have been subjected to various kinds of abuse in recent weeks.”

He went on: “It is not wholesale or widespread but is becoming more of an issue as we go down through the younger cohorts and is more often happening at the weekend for some reason. I’m not sure why that would be.

“I can’t really go into much more detail, for various reasons, but will say that we’re aware of a range of things happening from anti-social behaviour at a testing site to racial abuse at one of the larger vaccination sites, and clearly none of these things are in any way acceptable.”

He described the racial abuse as “absolutely horrible”.

“I really cannot give any insight as to what motivates people to behave like this and to be honest nothing justifies what has been happening.

“We want to be very clear – abuse of any kind is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We are working closely with our partners including Lincolnshire Police, and will - without exception - follow-up any and all incidences of abuse and will take appropriate action. Lincolnshire Police will prosecute anyone who commits criminal offences against staff, this includes abusive, threatening language.”

He said the police have been very supportive and willing to follow up on any incidents.

He said that the staff have been working incredibly long hours to facilitate the vaccination and testing sites in what has been an unprecedented rollout during peacetime leading to over 32 per cent of the country already vaccinated.

He added: “Please remember that the rollout of the Covid vaccination is only possible thanks to the sheer hard work and dedication of our amazing teams running the various sites around the county, whether they be at our testing or vaccination sites, or our GP practices and hospitals. Please be kind to them.”

A police spokesman said: “Lincolnshire Police continues to ask anyone who has been a victim of any crime to report it to us. We will prosecute anyone who commits criminal offences against staff, this includes abusive, threatening language.”