Stroke victim’s anger at GP ‘waiting game’

Brian McCaffrey
Brian McCaffrey

A man who has suffered two strokes in the space of two months has spoken of his anger after being told he could not get an appointment at Banbridge Group Surgery.

Brian McCaffery was told last week that the surgery was booked up until July 19 and that he was unable to get an appointment after that date because a rota had not been drawn up.

The news has caused concern with local politicians and the issue is set to be raised at Stormont by Upper Bann Assembly Member Dolores Kelly.

Mr McCaffery’s woes began in May after falling ill while he was away on work.

He explained, “I was in Enniskillen so I went to the new hospital there. At this point I didn’t know I had had a stroke.

“They sent me home and I took a week off, during which time I went to the surgery with a discharge letter, only to be turned away.

“It was at this point I learnt that there was an on-call system where the doctor calls you if he thinks you need seen to.

“Eventually I was seen by a doctor and he told me I’d had a stroke.

“I then had another stroke on June 10 and had the clot burst at Craigavon Hospital.

“I went back to the surgery last Tuesday to see the stroke nurse. While I was there I tried to book an appointment for myself and one for my wife and that’s when I was told there was nothing until after the 19th and that because the rota had not been drawn up that I could not book an appointment.”

The refusal left Mr McCaffrey feeling angry and frustrated.

“This has annoyed me and I’m not supposed to be feeling stressed,” he said.

“All I’m asking is to be seen in a reasonable time. The surgery’s website says that you will be seen in a day if it is serious and this is not happening.

“It makes me wonder how many older people have gone looking an appointment only to be turned away and ended up being found needing help?”

A spokesperson for the Health and Social Care Trust Board said GPs “will ensure that urgent appointments are offered as deemed clinically appropriate.”