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Lloyds staff in Isle of Man 'leave work crying' amid ongoing patient abuse


Lloyds staff in Isle of Man 'leave work crying' amid ongoing patient abuse

By Neil Trainis

An employee at a branch of LloydsPharmacy on the Isle of Man has spoken out about the abuse they and their colleagues are receiving from patients, including staff members receiving "death threats" and being spat on. 

The radio station reported that patients’ anger had been sparked by long queues and waiting times caused by a shortage of staff and medicines.

“We literally get death threats, we’ve had people [contract] Covid because people spit on us, I’ve witnessed somebody screaming in a 16-year-old girl’s face until she cried," the employee said. 

"Someone told my friend they hope they get cancer [while they had] to wait in line."

They said the branch had seen “six or seven” young girls working on the counter leave over a five-month period and one aged 16 “had a literal mental breakdown” and woke up "having panic attacks".

“You shouldn’t leave work crying. You shouldn’t wake up in the morning not wanting to go to work,” the employee said.

“I’ve never known a job where we don’t go a week without having young girls crying, and young girls panicking and having panic attacks in the store room because they’ve had grown men speak to them and adults who should know better.”

The employee said they felt the need to go public because staff “feel in danger with some of these people" and added: “I just want to be able to get a staff base and actually keep them and for it to be a non-toxic work environment because it is so, so toxic."

When asked what would happen if staff told the branch’s HR department what had happened to them and asked for support and counselling, the employee said: “No, they don’t. The superintendent…she has witnessed some of this and…nothing. It’s ‘take 10 minutes, you’ll be fine and then come back.’”

When the employee was asked if they were given any training on how to handle aggressive and threatening customers, they replied: “No, because it’s such a busy environment. It’s always learn on the job, you kind of shadow someone and if things happen, it’s ‘oh, just ignore them. They’re just frustrated'.”

The employee added: “I understand the frustration at not being able to get your medication and having to wait in these long lines... but these people need to understand that we are human as well. Quite a lot of the time there’s only three of us, one of which is usually always new, so they don’t have the training because we go through so many counter girls.”

LloydsPharmacy told Manx Radio it took the safety of its colleagues and patients “very seriously” and insisted its “field management teams work closely with our teams to stay fully up to date on all branch matters.”

A spokesperson for the pharmacy chain said: “As part of this, they regularly make colleagues aware of how to escalate all incidents, serious or otherwise, so that we can put in place appropriate measures. Furthermore, we have an extensive package of support for our colleagues, including 24/7 confidential counselling and advice, should they need it.”

The spokesperson said LlloydPharmacy's senior management team was also "working very closely" with Manx Care, an arm's length organisation that provides health and social care on behalf of the Isle of Man government, to try and resolve "staffing issues as quickly as possible".

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