NHS doctor reveals barrage of abuse including rape and death threats

NHS doctor reveals barrage of abuse she’s faced online including rape and death threats – and says some of her colleagues have been left feeling ‘suicidal’ during the pandemic

  • Dr Rachel Clarke, from Oxford, has been victim of online bullying amid pandemic
  • Says trolls deny existence Covid and spread misinformation about the vaccine 
  • Has been called ‘Satan and Hitler’ and been accused of being a ‘child abuser’ 
  • Says several colleagues are battling depression due to pressures of Covid crisis  

An NHS doctor has revealed the horrendous abuse she receives online, including death and rape threats, simply for asking the public to ‘take care’ during the pandemic. 

Dr Rachel Clarke, from Oxford, has been called names such as ‘Hitler and Satan’ and accused of being a ‘child abuser’ after using social media to warn people that hospitals are at full capacity due to the Covid crisis. 

Appearing on Lorraine today, she revealed how several colleagues are battling depression and anxiety as a result of the pandemic and the abuse, and told how difficult it is to see trolls ‘denying her lived experience’. 

Dr Clarke, pictured in 2016, has been called names such as ‘Hitler and Satan’ and accused of being a ‘child abuser’ after using social media to warn people that hospitals are at full capacity

‘It’s really incredible,’ said Rachel. ‘You can be at work all day, caring for patients who are really sick and sadly dying of Covid. 

‘You go home and onto social media and say, “This disease is serious, it’s deadly, please take care”, and if you do that you are subject to a barrage of abuse. 

‘I’ve been called things like Hitler or Satan or Harold Shipman, or even a child abuser for saying that the hospitals are full of Covid patients, please stay at home. 

‘I’ve had rape threats and death threats and it’s astonishing, you just can’t believe it. You feel as though these people are denying your lived experience and it’s absolutely shocking.’ 

NHS doctor Rachel Clarke, from Oxford, revealed on Lorraine the horrendous abuse she receives online simply for asking the public to ‘take care’ during the Covid pandemic

Rachel spoke of the shift of support for NHS staff that she and her colleagues have noticed throughout the pandemic. 

‘In the first wave, the thing that kept us all going was knowing the public were behind us, the claps and the rainbows, you felt we were in it together’, said Rachel. 

She said that while those online are a ‘tiny minority’, they are extremely vocal with their bullying and seem ‘intent on sowing mistrust among the public’, spreading incorrect information about the disease and the vaccine.   

‘It’s really shocking and sometimes it makes you really want to cry at the end of a long day of work,’ she said. 

The doctor told host Lorraine Kelly (pictured left) one of the hardest things about the pandemic has been ‘how cruelly Covid separates people from the people they love’

‘Because you can’t quite believe you’re being abused after your long day of work as a doctor.’ 

The doctor said one of the hardest things about the pandemic has been ‘how cruelly Covid separates people from the people they love’, and how NHS staff have been given the added pressure of providing the support in the absence of loved ones.   

‘To be subjected to abuse on top of all of that is really distressing,’ said Rachel. ‘A lot of us are ourselves are finding ourselves have stress symptoms, some people are depressed, they’re anxious. 

‘I have spoken to colleagues who are feeling suicidal because of the pressures and it’s just really tough for staff at the moment.’ 

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