PATIENTS are citing Boris Johnson's refusal to wear a face mask as a reason not to put one in a waiting rooms, according to a family doctor.

Dr Ketan Bhatt, a family doctor, posted a photo on social media of the Prime Minister during a hospital visit on Monday pictured without a face covering.

He claimed in one incident a patient "got aggressive" and came close to getting into a "physical altercation" with one of the surgery's receptionists when asked to wear a mask.

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"Thank you Boris Johnson. Another patient refusing to wear a mask in our waiting room. This time they got aggressive and it nearly became a physical altercation with one of our receptionists. 'Boris doesn’t wear a mask so why should I?'", tweeted Bhatt who works in the Manor View GP practice in Watford, north London.

Johnson was criticised after pictures emerged of him not wearing a face covering at Hexham General Hospital in Northumberland, although images showed that he did wear a mask at some points during his visit.

Labour's shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth accused Johnson of "irresponsibly parading" around the hospital, adding: "Patients and NHS staff deserve better than this."

ITV Good Morning Britain’s Dr Hilary Jones also slammed Johnson for not wearing a mask during the visit.

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Mask wearing is not compulsory in indoor public spaces in England, such as shops, though visitors to hospitals and other healthcare settings are advised to wear one.

The UK Government's website states: "Infection Prevention Control (IPC) guidance advises that patients and visitors across all healthcare settings should wear a face covering, providing it is tolerated and is not detrimental to their medical or care needs. They should also be worn in care homes to protect residents from the risk of infection."

Dr Hilary said: "He should have been wearing a mask. "

Deputy prime minister Dominic Raab later defended Johnson.

"He followed all the advice and all the guidance that he got at all times, I think that's the right thing for all of us to do," Raab told Sky News'.