Patient details sent 140 miles away

A DOCTOR who moved to Surrey two years ago is still receiving his patients details.

A DOCTOR who moved to Surrey two years ago is still receiving updated details of patients he used to treat in Weston.

Dr Peter Watkinson, who worked as a GP in the resort for 30 years, says a lack of common sense’ is to blame for the administrative error.

He said: “This puts patients at risk particularly as many of them are frail and elderly.

“Sooner or later someone is going to come to serious harm as a result.”

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The GP, who now practices 140 miles away in Chobham, Surrey, used to work at New Court Surgery in the Boulevard.

Surgery practice manager Carol Jones said it has been a considerable problem’.

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Dr Watkinson added: “During the two and a half years I have been here, I have received a number of letters from the hospital about my former patients, on their discharge or after they have been seen in the accident and emergency department

“Although I fax them at once to my former surgery there is an inevitable delay, especially when I am on holiday, before their new doctor gets to hear what has been happening to them.

“It would appear the reason this happens is my name still remains on many patients’ hospital records from years ago when I referred them for hospital treatment.

“Because the hospital still uses paper records for many purposes, it has not proved easy to replace my name with that of the new GP. The hospital secretaries have access to a national list of GPs’ names and addresses, and would seem to use this rather than their common sense.

“I have written and telephoned on a number of occasions to hospital consultants, their secretaries, and the trust’s chief executive, all of whom promise to correct the problem, but letters still come through.

“My former surgery in the Boulevard has likewise made strenuous efforts to have the error put right, but it seems nobody listens.

“There must be a solution, because this doesn’t happen at the Bristol Royal Infirmary or Southmead Hospital, where many of my former patients are also seen.”

Dr Watkinson’s last letter to chief executive Lorene Read, had gone unanswered as the Weston & Somerset Mercury went to press.

A Weston General Hospital spokeswoman said: “The Trust is aware of the problem Dr Watkinson is experiencing and is working with its service providers, Fujitsu, to resolve it as soon as possible.

“We apologise for the inconvenience while we are undertaking this work, but would stress this administrative issue has no bearing on the care of his patients who are being seen and treated in the hospital as usual.”

• The doctor is calling on his former patients who are being seen at the hospital to insist’ their records are checked to ensure the name of their new GP is used for correspondence. Dr Watkinson said he would be delighted to hear from his former patients. He can be contacted at Chobham Surgery, Woodland Road, Chobham, Surrey, GU24 8NA.

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