During Mental Health Awareness Week NHS Dorset is thanking people who treat health and care staff across Dorset with the kindness and respect they deserve.

In general practice, busy phone lines, waiting times and changes to appointment booking systems can be frustrating for people, but NHS Dorset is reminding people that being respectful towards staff helps with their wellbeing.

Recruiting staff remains a challenge across the county and by keeping the wellbeing of staff at the forefront helps to keep health care staff working for longer.

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Alex Kimber, practice manager at The Grove Medical Centre in Sherborne said: “General practice can be a challenging work environment.

"Kind words, respectful interactions and patience from patients goes a long way to increasing staff wellbeing and helping us to keep staff working with us for longer, which is incredibly important.

“Unfortunately, instances of verbal abuse and disrespectful behaviour towards our receptionists, our nurses, our doctors, still does happen too often, impacting on their mental health and homelife too.

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"We share the positive comments from our friends and family test, and we know that this is motivating for staff.

"When patients take the time to leave nice feedback it makes a big difference. Thank you.”

Patients are encouraged to raise any grievances with their general practice via the official feedback routes.

This is often via a specific online or written form or email address. Complaint methods can be found on their practice website or by speaking to reception.

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Alternatively, people can ask their practice if they have a Patient Participation Group, which are made up of members of the public who work alongside their practice on areas such as customer care improvements and communication.

Ian Gall, patient and public lead for the General Practice Alliance and chair, Blackmore Vale Partnership Patient Participation Group said :“If you have received great care from your general practice, tell them.

“Have a positive impact on someone’s mental health today and help your NHS to stay strong too.

"By being kind and respectful to our staff, you keep people wanting to work in general practice, and across the whole of the NHS in Dorset.

“Together, we can create a supportive environment that enables us to continue providing the right care, by the right person, to those in need.”

Fiona Arnold, community pharmacy clinical lead at NHS Dorset said, “This sentiment extends to pharmacy staff too.

"Our pharmacies are extremely busy and we appreciate that this can be frustrating for customers. When people take the time to show kindness and patience, we know that this helps our community pharmacy staff feel valued in their vital roles.”

For more information about Mental Health Awareness week visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk