A VANDAL threw a rock at a patient services manager’s car at a doctor’s surgery, damaging the windscreen beyond repair.

Gwyn Hughes, patient services manager who has been leading preparations in response to Covid-19 along with other colleagues at Clarence Medical Centre in Rhyl - which looks after 16,200 patients - had to deal with the frightening experience on Thursday, March 26 - the very day the NHS workers were applauded in a national clap for carers.

Over the last few weeks the surgery, who has been working hard to keep patients safe by implementing new measures such as telephone, video consultations and has launched eConsult available via its practice website, have had to deal with verbal abuse over the phone and face-to-face.

A door was also kicked by a patient.

Mr Hughes said: “It is very frightening for staff.I was parked in one of the GP

"I was parked in one of the GP spaces. I arrived at work about 7am and didn't leave until after 5pm. The damage could have been done anytime between those times.

"I have not reported it to the police via 999 as I didn't feel it was necessary to burden them as probably like us, they are under the cosh. I have tried to report it via 101 [the non-urgent reporting system] but I am sure they are finding it hard to answer calls quickly.

"For the last few weeks, we have been running the practice on a triage based system.

"This was to try and keep patients in safe environment within their own homes.

"We have adopted new ways of working such as online consultations (e-consult), text messaging service and video consultations - all of which have meant less foot fall into the practice.

"We have 16,200 patients at the practice and our priority has all ways been their safety first. We also have 60 members of staff whose safety is also paramount.

"We have had a number of incidents over the last few weeks - verbal abuse, over the phone and face-to-face. We have had the door kicked by one patients and then this latest incident - the vandalism to my car."

Mr Hughes was keen to stress that the majority of people in Rhyl are 'amazing' and 'very supportive of the practice and its community'.

"These people [who vandalise/abuse] are a minority," he said.

"I am very proud of being here at the practice for such a long-time and I would also like to say, how proud I am of the staff we have here and the surrounding practices who are also adapting to the unprecedented pandemic."

Dr Simon Dobson, senior partner at Clarence Medical Rhyl who has been a GP in Rhyl for 23 years, said: "Along with other surgeries in North Denbighshire and beyond, we have been adapting the way we consult patients during the Covid-19 National Emergency.

"This has not been for the convenience of the doctors but to minimise the risks to the public of inadvertently catching Covid-19 when they visit a GP surgery where many of the most at risk attend. We are in advanced preparations for what lies ahead.

"A citizen chose to lob the rock and it damaged Gwyn's windscreen beyond repair whilst he was parked in the surgery car park.

"The whole surgery is naturally upset, and indeed are frightened that this fate or worse could befall them.

"I have never experienced this before.

"It is sobering that while the NHS is applauded, some idiot should chose to do this."