Police were called to a Birmingham GPs' surgery yesterday after a man with a gun burst into the reception area, terrifying staff and patients.
The man is believed to have chased a patient into the Harlequin Surgery in Shard End at about 10.30am before he was spotted with the gun.
People at the six-doctor practice said he kicked a woman in the face before running off. Patients were briefly locked in for their own safety after the gunman had left. No shots were fired and no one was injured.
Sophia Christie, chief executive of Birmingham East and North Primary Care Trust, praised the bravery of the people working at the surgery.
She said it was up to the people of Birmingham to make sure everyone could feel safe using NHS facilities.
She said: "This was a horrible incident for the health professionals and patients present. Everyone reacted quickly and responsively and I am very impressed with the way in which the practice staff handled the incident and prioritised patient safety and the concerns of those present.
"We are trying to do a job that's about helping others, and it's not acceptable if staff become the targets of violence or abuse.
"It's really important that people feel that their local health centres are centres of the local community and that they are able to use them safely.
"The last thing any of us would want is for local health facilities to become fortresses. So we are reliant on members of the public to be responsible."
She added that incidents like this were very rare, saying: "I've been working in this patch for seven years and this is the first incident of this nature, and hopefully the last for some time."
The surgery closed briefly after the incident, and Ms Christie said any patients who missed out would be able to reschedule their treatment today.