Frustrated patient called GP’s office 261 times for an appointment following a complaint to the office

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A patient called his doctor’s office 261 times without receiving an answer in a failed attempt to secure an appointment.

The man’s experience was revealed in an update from Healthwatch South Tees, which covers Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, and resulted in him coming to the operation in person to file a complaint.

A woman also complained because she had “been trying to get a face-to-face date for months, but only received a phone call”.

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The local group Healthwatch, which collects people’s views on health services and provides information to them, said most of the questions it received came from people who had difficulty accessing appointments at the clinic. doctor, as well as dentists.

He said another patient made 59 attempts to have his GP operated on.

The update, scheduled for a recent Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) meeting, also said: “Another contact informed us of their experience trying to make an appointment with a general practitioner and how we told him about, [and said] she wanted to lodge a complaint about the attitude of the staff.

Hartlepool GP Dr Boleslaw Posmyk, who is also the chairman of the GCC governing body that controls health services, said there was “continuing increasing pressure in all areas of the NHS”.

In a report for the GCC, he said there were growing public expectations for ease of access, which was at odds with a significant number of covid infections and continued pressures on staff in hospitals. primary, secondary and community contexts.

This was associated with all areas reporting very complex patients requiring care and needing to continue to take action to protect patients and staff.

He added: “Intensive care has not had any real relief in the need to treat covid patients, the majority of whom are unvaccinated.

“This was accompanied by negative media publicity, raising public expectations.”

In October it was announced that £ 250million was being made available by NHS England as part of a ‘Winter Access Fund’ with local and regional health chiefs invited to show how they could best use the ‘money.

The aim of the plans is to improve access to urgent primary care on the same day, ideally from the patient’s GP office by increasing the capacity and number of GP appointments.

“Crisis in progress”

The funding also aims to increase the resilience of the NHS emergency care system during the winter by increasing the capacity for same-day emergency care, through other services in any primary and community setting. .

Dr Posmyk noted that there had been “significant elements of concern” among GPs nationwide over the plans, which were rejected by the British Medical Association’s GP committee, which represents basic general practitioners.

The committee said the government’s proposed package has fundamentally failed to address the “current crisis in general practice.”

He said the “worst” aspects of the plans would mean spending more on bureaucratic processes and conforming to goal-oriented rankings to “name and shame” GPs.

Action plans with agreed deadlines could be put in place with general practitioner practices whose patients have problems accessing appointments and treatments.

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