Around 3,000 patients leave Weston surgery after being 'fed up with problems'

Graham Road Surgery. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Graham Road Surgery. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

Around 3,000 patients have left a Weston town centre GP surgery after being 'fed up with the continuing problems'.

The patients have joined other surgeries in the area, prompting former Graham Road Patient Participation Group (PPG) chairmen Laurie Fineman and Alan Rice and other former PPG members to provide a voice for forgotten patients under the group Graham Road Patients Voice.

When Clarence Park surgery closed in 2019, 5,000 patients transferred to join the existing 9,000 at Graham Road Surgery, making a total of 14,000 patients. 

MORE: Weston Rugby Club 'the ideal location' for new health centre site.

In a letter to stakeholders sent on July 17, Andy Lloyd manager of Pier Health Group which runs the surgery, stated more than 11,000 patients will be cared for at the new Weston Rugby Club development, prompting Graham Road Patients Voice to ask 'where and why have the other 3,000 patients gone?' 

Laurie Fineman said: “I was one of those who moved from Clarence Park to Graham Road. Matters have gone rapidly downhill ever since and no-one appears to listen to the patients’ concerns, no-one appears to be accountable.  

"The clue is in the almost daily complaints on social media about the inability to get an appointment at Graham Road surgery.   

"This inability, which preceded Covid, was supposed to be solved by the introduction of the online AskmyGP application. But, despite being presented as a 24/7 service it has proved almost impossible to book an appointment.

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"We hear anecdotally the service is shut down each day after six appointments are made – we sincerely hope that is not true. 

"The patients need a voice and I am determined to provide one."

Dr John Heather, clinical director for Pier Health Group, said it takes patient concerns 'incredibly seriously'.

Dr John Heather. Picture: Eleanor Young

Dr John Heather. Picture: Eleanor Young - Credit: Eleanor Young

Dr Heather said: "At Pier Health Group, we aim to have a transparent and open dialogue with people who use our services about the challenges we face, as well as our plans for the future. With that in mind, we fully recognise the difficulty some Graham Road patients have experienced when trying to make an appointment.

"We are undertaking major improvement works on our telephone lines at the moment, and expect that people will start to see the benefits of that in the coming weeks. In the meantime, those who are able to access our services online are encouraged to use that route.

"I’m pleased to say that we have recruited to some key roles within the Graham Road and Horizons' teams in recent weeks, including clinical assistants to support GPs, dedicated mental health practitioners and enhanced pharmacist input.

"We know there is still much more to do, but strengthening the team in this way is a big step forward. We are absolutely committed to getting things right for our population, and providing services that everyone can be proud of.

"The proposed relocation to a new facility on the Weston Rugby Club site in 2023 offers real opportunities to do this.

"We are currently seeking views on these proposals and encourage people to share theirs through our survey and the range of open meetings we are running. You can find out more about the different ways to have your say and we look forward to hearing from you."

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