Man armed with hammer threatened to smash up Hartlepool GP surgery because he had to wait for a prescription

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A patient who verbally abused staff at a doctors’ surgery before returning 10 minutes later with a hammer has been jailed.

Terrence Thompson shouted and swore at a receptionist because his prescription was not ready immediately and threatened to return and ‘smash up the surgery’.

Teesside Crown Court heard several patients were in the waiting room at the GP practice in Hartlepool at the time, including children and babies, and staff were concerned for their own safety and the safety of others.

A judge told Thompson, who is described as having a ‘bad record’ with has dozens of previous convictions, anyone who abuses NHS staff should expect to go to prison.

It comes after NHS bosses warned they will not tolerate abuse after it was revealed 30% of staff polled at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said they had been bullied, harassed or abused by patients last year.

“This incident happened just before noon at the McKenzie surgery in Kendal Road in Hartlepool,” said Emma Atkinson, prosecuting.

“The defendant was clearly agitated, demanding his medication.

“He left, saying he was going to get a hammer to smash up the surgery.

“He did return 10 minutes later with a hammer, although it’s fair to say he didn’t brandish it.”

Staff intervened to calm Thompson, the court heard.

“There were patients in the surgery,” added Ms Atkinson. “They included children and babies. Staff at the surgery say they were concerned for their own safety and also for the safety of those others present.”

Thompson, 49, of Kendal Road, Hartlepool, admitted affray.

The court heard he has 76 previous convictions.

Martin Scarborough, defending, said in mitigation: “Mr Thompson has been banned from the surgery, which he has no argument with.

“He did return to the surgery with a hammer, but it wasn’t produced once he got there.

“Mr Thompson does have a bad record, but there has been gaps in his offending.

“His last sentence was a suspended one, he completed that order successfully.

“There is genuine remorse in this case,

“Mr Thompson has lived in he same house for many years.

“He has a son and grandchild who he is in regular contact with.”

Judge Peter Armstrong jailed Thompson for five months.

The judge told him: “You were agitated about your medication, but went about things in entirely the wrong way.

“Those who work for the NHS are just doing their jobs, they should expect to be able to come to work without being attacked or threatened.

“Anyone who interferes with those working in public service should expect a prison sentence.”

Thompson was made the subject of an order banning him from going within 50 yards of the McKenzie doctors’ surgery in Kendal Road, Hartlepool, for five years.