Oldham Council is working with local healthcare settings across the borough to help them challenge hate.
Sadly, hateful abuse is not uncommon in many GP surgeries and healthcare centres across the country, with this becoming even more prevalent during and since the pandemic.
Now, as pressures continue to mount on the healthcare system, Oldham Council is keen to support key workers in knowing how best to manage any further cases of abuse.
Councillor Amanda Chadderton, Leader of Oldham Council, said: “We have a zero tolerance to hate crime in Oldham and we are committed as a borough to tackling it head on.
“That is why we have been working with our local healthcare settings to deliver these important sessions on how to challenge hateful behaviour.
“Sadly, over recent years, we know there has been an increase in hate towards our key workers and this is completely unacceptable – especially when these people are helping to save our lives every day.
“But, by working together with our general practices and health centres, we can hopefully make more strides in helping to eradicate hate in our borough. Everyone who lives and works in Oldham deserves to live comfortably, healthily and happily.”
Over recent weeks, Oldham Council, with support from Greater Manchester Police, have been delivering sessions, with the Integrated Care Centre in the town centre and a number of local practices, to educate staff on what they should do if they ever found themselves in a situation where they are the victim or a witness of hate crime.
The sessions, which are continuing to run during National Hate Crime Awareness Week this week, also involve recognising the differences between hate incidents and hate crime, alongside information on what different types of hate there are.
Health staff have also analysed real-life case studies to identify what their appropriate responses would be in certain situations, with discussions taking place to explore the different ways hate and prejudice can be challenged safely.
Lisa Rylands, Practice Manager at Dr Perkins in Oldham, added: “We really appreciate the efforts the council have made to reach out to us and offer us their support on this important issue.
“Working on the frontline can always be challenging and, while we do have some procedures in place to deal with these types of incidents, the training we have been given is invaluable and will really help our team.
“Sometimes, it’s easier to have a thick skin and let this abuse go unchallenged but in doing so, the perpetrators get away with their behaviour and the victims are left to suffer in silence and this can have damaging effects on a person’s life.
“We will not stand by and let this happen in our surgery and anyone who thinks this behaviour is acceptable will be reported to the police.”
Hate crime is an act of violence or hostility that is directed at a person or group because of who they are or what they think they are, and it can come in many different forms such as physical attacks, a threat of attack and verbal abuse or insults.
A hate incident is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone’s prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation and alternative subculture/ lifestyle.
It is important to know that anyone can be affected by such incidents, so if you have been affected by a hate crime, even if you’re unsure you have been a victim or a witness to one, call 999 in an emergency. In a non-emergency call 101 or go to a nearby police station and report it.
Extra support is available for people who wish not to contact the police or for those who need extra support.
This can be accessed at the Stop Hate Helpline – 0800 138 1625 – a free confidential 24-hour hate crime reporting service, or by visiting one of Oldham’s various third-party reporting centres which are detailed on our website.