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Nurse alleges commuters abusing NHS workers with queue priority at Romford station

PUBLISHED: 12:06 23 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:10 23 June 2020

Archive photo of Romford station. Picture: Ken Mears

Archive photo of Romford station. Picture: Ken Mears

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A nurse has hit out at commuters who she alleges have verbally abused NHS staff given priority to skip queues outside Romford station.

The woman, who did not wish to be named, told the Recorder about her experiences at the station, which she uses to commute into London.

She claims that she has been verbally abused by people in the queue and says commuters have told NHS workers to prove they are going to work when not in uniform.

The Romford resident said: “For me it’s people protesting that it’s unfair, swearing at me, being called unpleasant names and stupid for not joining the queue. It’s not always the language but the aggression behind it.

“We don’t want special treatment - we just want to do our jobs. We have had a rough time over the last few months and having people abuse us is just unfair and at times very intimidating.”

She claims the abuse has been happening in the past four weeks.

She also alleged that this extended to racist abuse towards black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) station staff and NHS workers on Monday, June 15 at around 6.30am.

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British Transport Police said it did not receive any reports of racist abuse at the station that day.

The nurse called for people to be “kind” and “patient”, adding: “The station staff do their best to explain but maybe the general public just aren’t aware of how much Transport for London (TfL) have supported NHS staff and we are very grateful.”

A TfL Rail spokesperson confirmed that, since the end of March, NHS workers could identify themselves in queues at the station to allow them to move to the front.

They said this initiative is being phased out in the next week due to increased passenger numbers following the easing of lockdown.

The station has a queuing system in place between 6am and 7.30am.

The spokesperson also said the operator has not received any reports of verbal abuse at the station in the past fortnight.

They added: “We do not tolerate abuse towards our customers or our colleagues.

“We would encourage anyone who experiences any form of abuse from another passenger to report it to a member of staff or the British Transport Police. Any report of racist abuse will be investigated.”

To report abuse, contact British Transport Police by texting 61016 or call 101.


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