Local surgery responds on appointments concerns

Banbridge Group Surgery has responded to recent concerns over waiting times for appointments and said politicians frequently criticise but are not so ‘robust’ in helping.

A spokesperson said: “Whilst the surgery is unable to comment publicly on individual cases in order to preserve patient confidentiality, we do regret any distress experienced by any of our patients.

“The surgery strives to provide the people of Banbridge and the surrounding area with the highest level of Primary Medical Care delivered by caring and committed health professionals.

“Primary Health Care is a team effort involving General Practitioners’, Practice Nurses, Treatment Room Nurses, District Nurses, Macmillan Nurses, Health Visitors and non medical members including administrative staff and cleaning staff.”

She went on: “Primary medical care is experiencing the same hardships as all walks of life in recent years. There is an ever increasing workload with little provision made to increase resources.

“Local and national politicians frequently criticise Primary Care but are not so robust when asked directly for help.”

She revealed the Banbridge practices carried out an audit in February 2013 and there were 1,000 requests to see a General Practitioner in one week for the two larger practices.

This number does not include appointments pre-booked for the week of the audit.

The spokesperson said: “This is not unique to Banbridge but highlights the pressure the team is under.

“We did act on this audit by increasing the number of appointments available at the start of each week and also on a daily basis.

“Clearly with the huge volume of requests it is impossible for every person to be accommodated on the day of their choosing but we try to accommodate each request to the best of our ability.

“Emotive headlines and calls to “open longer” and “increase staff” do not provide the resources to do so; we are aware that the vast majority of our patients have had a more positive experience and we will endeavour to make this the norm.

“We would remind patients that if they have a concern we have a complaints procedure (details available on the surgery web site; at reception or by contacting the Practice Manager) and we will deal with all complaints received in the appropriate manner to achieve an outcome satisfactory to all parties.”

The controversy was sparked after the Leader revealed a man who had suffered two strokes in the space of two months was told he could not get an appointment as the rota had not been drawn up.