Health boss admits ‘more to be done’ to improve struggling central Weston GP surgery

Chair of the provider locality, Dr John Heather. Picture: Eleanor Young

Chair of the provider locality, Dr John Heather. Picture: Eleanor Young - Credit: Eleanor Young

A health commissioner which runs a Weston town centre surgery said it still has ‘a lot of work to do’, following criticism of difficulties on seeing a doctor.

Graham Road Surgery. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

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

The Mercury reported last week Graham Road Surgery has 'struggled to cope' with 5,000 more patients since Clarence Park Surgery closed in September.

Readers have since written in to the Mercury voicing similar patient experiences.

EXCLUSIVE: Central Weston surgery struggling to cope with more patients.

Dr John Heather, chairman of Pier Health Group Limited, which took on the running of Graham Road in June, said staff are working hard to alleviate the problems.

He said: "We took on the running of Graham Road at short notice and without the kind of preparation that would have ensured a really smooth transfer.

"That's not an excuse for poor patient experience, but it's a big part of why things aren't yet working as well as they should be.

"We know we still have a lot of work to do, and that includes improving access to appointments."

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Staff at other practices have stepped in to help cover shifts at Graham Road.

The surgery received £1.4million of NHS emergency capital funding following the closure of nearby Clarence Park and its patients transferred to Graham Road.

MORE: More than £1million in NHS funding given to struggling Weston GP surgery.

Dr Heather added: "We're investing in a major upgrade to our telephone system, with work taking place in the coming weeks. We will also be offering video consultations with GPs, which we know work really well for people with access to the technology at home.

"We are also really pleased to be bringing in the AskMyGP online consultation system in the New Year, which allows people to request an appointment by email as well as phone, and are then contacted within an average of 15 minutes by an appropriate clinician - be it doctor, nurse or physiotherapist.

"As well as these immediate changes, we are working hard to attract the GPs we need here in Weston over the longer term.

"Our national recruitment campaign is underway, and its success will be crucial to the sustainability and quality of our primary care services into the future.

"We take patient feedback incredibly seriously, and we know we haven't got everything right just yet.

"I'm confident our planned changes will mean a much better service and experience for people, and we'll continue to work closely with the local community, the local clinical commissioning group and our patient groups to make sure that's the case."