GPs across south London are reporting a shocking rise in abuse from patients, with physical and verbal attacks leaving staff "in tears" during the pandemic.

Some surgeries have been accused of war crimes, sent hate mail, attacked by anti-vaxxers and more, with London specifically reporting a torrent of abuse rising during the pandemic.

Research from the Local Medical Committee (LMC) has revealed that half of doctors and two-thirds of GPs have seen colleagues experience violence or abuse, and it is harming the wellbeing and mental health of staff.

A recent survey from the LMC indicates that limitations to working methods due to the pandemic has reportedly worsened pressures on staff, and practices have been targeted by anti-vaxxers, as well as frustrated patients, bomb threats and graffiti.

It reported that almost 80% of GP surgeries reported that an increase in physical, verbal and online attacks has led to "workforce burnout."

News Shopper: Covid-19 vaccination reminders have reportedly sparked abuse. PACovid-19 vaccination reminders have reportedly sparked abuse. PA

One GP practice in London has reported hate mail it received to the police, after staff received multiple photocopies of a notice telling doctors and nurses they would be “put on trial for war crimes and held accountable”.

The practice said: “This was photocopied numerous times, and put in envelopes, and individually addressed to each of our clinicians, and posted through the door after dark.

“We have had a number of abusive responses on text, via email, by phone and in person as we try and keep all patients updated.”

News Shopper: Working pressures have been made worse by infection control and vaccination misinformation during the pandemic - PAWorking pressures have been made worse by infection control and vaccination misinformation during the pandemic - PA

Dr Simon Parton, who has a practice in Lewisham, told the BBC he and his colleagues were trying to balance the needs of patients with looking after their own welfare.

He explained: "I've seen staff in tears, they're anxious, some are questioning their role and whether they want to be here.

"We look to understand why some patients feel agitated, but we also have a duty of care to our staff."

Some doctors told The Independent that they have had staff quit because of the abuse they face, and earlier this month a national BMA survey found medics and medical staff were experiencing a similar rise in abuse.

It found one in five GPs reported being threatened, over a third of respondents had experienced verbal abuse first-hand in the last month and half had witnessed violence or abuse against other staff.

Dr Michelle Drage, chief executive of Londonwide Local Medical Committees, said: "London practice staff have been receiving profanity-filled letters and text messages in response to vaccination reminders, and those making calls are getting abuse and threatened with violence, all just for doing as instructed by the NHS."

"Even those people who are merely hesitant about vaccinations have been known to become abusive after repeated contacts."

The committe, which is London-wide, added that the changes caused by the pandemic and infection control measures, combined with the pent-up demand for GP services and misinformation about the vaccination campaign have all contributed to a rise in abuse of staff by patients.