Dismay over GP care cuts

A PATIENT says he felt blindsided by a decision to close Freshbrook Surgery for two days a week due to staff shortages and a lack of applicants.

Michael Bateman, who has been registered at the practice for nearly 25 years, along with his sister, mother and partner, was dismayed to discover, through carrying out his own investigation, that the surgery was poised to reduce opening hours to three days a week.

Despite having a major impact on the care of thousands of people in West Swindon, the decision was not discussed with those most concerned – a move he described as a slight to patients.

“We, the patients, had been told nothing of the application to close the extra two days per week,” said the 42-year-old.

“It’s a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted for the patients, as it would seem we’ll only be informed once the decision has been made.

“It just seems that the whole thing has been a very back door way of making changes to the surgery opening times and the patients will either have to like it or lump it.”

On Friday, senior partner at Freshbrook Surgery Dr Amit Dwivedi confirmed that, with one GP about to leave, another reducing his hours and no applications to fill the vacancies, the practice had asked NHS England for permission to shut on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

He said the surgery merged with Ridge Green Medical Practice in Shaw in 2008, and it would welcome Freshbrook patients on those days.

He also pledged to offer home visits to elderly patients unable to travel to Ridge Green.

He said: “We are not shutting because we want to or because we are losing money, but because of a lack of locum support when people are on holiday and a lack of people applying for the posts.

“I need to invest in the future and make the most of what we have.

“We decided to concentrate our resources on three days to work more effectively.”

But Michael said there is already a waiting list of up to three weeks for appointments and he has difficulty organising home visits for his mother, who suffers from leg ulcers.

“People will go to the walk-in centre or A&E if they cannot get into their own surgery for an appointment.

“This will put an additional strain on already overstretched services.

“The comment Dr Dwivedi made regarding appointments being available for Freshbrook patients at Ridge Green is a bit of a joke, as for a non-emergency appointment you can wait two or three weeks.

“This is going to increase if patients from Freshbrook are also trying to book in.”

Comments (3)

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8:08am Fri 18 Jul 14

house on the hill says...

A sad day when we cant even get good doctors to come and work in the NHS. Lets hope this is resolved before too long
A sad day when we cant even get good doctors to come and work in the NHS. Lets hope this is resolved before too long house on the hill
  • Score: 2

9:43am Fri 18 Jul 14

West Swindon Wanderer says...

And whats going to happen with all the elderly patients who can't access Dr Dwivedi's Ridge Green Practice?
Will home visits be offered to all of them, and if so, how is his already stretched staff going to cope with the extra home visits?
As the article says, people will have no choice but to turn to the Walk-In and A&E services which are already stretched.
Freshbrook has had a dedicated 5 day a week surgery for about 30 years, and yet now it would seem that thats going change, and no one has been consulted as to the effect this will have on patients.
It's a disgrace and I hope NHS England realise this and make the right decision
And whats going to happen with all the elderly patients who can't access Dr Dwivedi's Ridge Green Practice? Will home visits be offered to all of them, and if so, how is his already stretched staff going to cope with the extra home visits? As the article says, people will have no choice but to turn to the Walk-In and A&E services which are already stretched. Freshbrook has had a dedicated 5 day a week surgery for about 30 years, and yet now it would seem that thats going change, and no one has been consulted as to the effect this will have on patients. It's a disgrace and I hope NHS England realise this and make the right decision West Swindon Wanderer
  • Score: 4

12:25pm Fri 18 Jul 14

house on the hill says...

West Swindon Wanderer wrote:
And whats going to happen with all the elderly patients who can't access Dr Dwivedi's Ridge Green Practice?
Will home visits be offered to all of them, and if so, how is his already stretched staff going to cope with the extra home visits?
As the article says, people will have no choice but to turn to the Walk-In and A&E services which are already stretched.
Freshbrook has had a dedicated 5 day a week surgery for about 30 years, and yet now it would seem that thats going change, and no one has been consulted as to the effect this will have on patients.
It's a disgrace and I hope NHS England realise this and make the right decision
If you read the article it isn't the fault of the surgery, they simply cant get anyone to do the jobs! What decision is it you think the NHS should make then?

Maybe if there weren't so many with self inflicted illnesses and injuries, the NHS wouldn't be so stretched and those who really need it would have access to the care they need. But then politicians, the NHS and Immigrants are a much easier target to blame rather than the fat, lazy people costing the NHS tens of £billions every year with obesity, type 2 diabetes etc. Apparently even 50% of cancers could be avoided or delayed with basic lifestyle changes. So you can blame others all you like but the reality is that we could all improve the service from the NHS with a bit more responsible lifestyles, but then that will never happen!
[quote][p][bold]West Swindon Wanderer[/bold] wrote: And whats going to happen with all the elderly patients who can't access Dr Dwivedi's Ridge Green Practice? Will home visits be offered to all of them, and if so, how is his already stretched staff going to cope with the extra home visits? As the article says, people will have no choice but to turn to the Walk-In and A&E services which are already stretched. Freshbrook has had a dedicated 5 day a week surgery for about 30 years, and yet now it would seem that thats going change, and no one has been consulted as to the effect this will have on patients. It's a disgrace and I hope NHS England realise this and make the right decision[/p][/quote]If you read the article it isn't the fault of the surgery, they simply cant get anyone to do the jobs! What decision is it you think the NHS should make then? Maybe if there weren't so many with self inflicted illnesses and injuries, the NHS wouldn't be so stretched and those who really need it would have access to the care they need. But then politicians, the NHS and Immigrants are a much easier target to blame rather than the fat, lazy people costing the NHS tens of £billions every year with obesity, type 2 diabetes etc. Apparently even 50% of cancers could be avoided or delayed with basic lifestyle changes. So you can blame others all you like but the reality is that we could all improve the service from the NHS with a bit more responsible lifestyles, but then that will never happen! house on the hill
  • Score: 6

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