Cornwall hospital patient spat in staff member's face when asked to put on mask

The hospital patient spat at the staff member after she asked him to wear a face covering Credit: RCHT

A staff member at a Cornwall hospital was spat at by a patient after she asked him to wear a face mask in the hospital.

The member of staff - who is not being named - asked the patient to wear the face covering to help keep people safe, as Covid cases are rising in the county.

The patient refused to wear the covering, saying people didn’t have to wear them anymore and then spat in her face, a spokesperson from NHS Kernow CCG said.

Despite the national lifting of restrictions last month, face coverings are still required in health settings.

Dr Paul Cook, NHS Kernow’s chairman, said there has been a recent increase in people being aggressive towards NHS workers.

"We have seen an increase in people being aggressive towards our staff when asked to wear a mask in our hospitals, GP surgeries, pharmacies, and clinics because they think Covid has gone away. It hasn’t", he said.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy towards anyone who abuses our staff, and we will urge the police to make the highest charges possible for anyone who is physically or verbally abusive to someone who is doing their job.

"Our staff have worked tirelessly since March 2020, often putting themselves at risk to protect their patients. We all want to life to return to normal, but there is no excuse to spit at our staff or to make them cry.

"We can’t get back to normality unless everyone plays their part, so please help us so we can help you.”

He added that the NHS advice is that the public should continue to wear face coverings, get vaccinated, test regularly, and only call 999 or visit an emergency department if they have an urgent, life-threatening condition.