Surgeries criticised for slow waiting times

Graham Road Surgery. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

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

Two Weston GP surgeries have been criticised by an independent group.

Healthwatch North Somerset visited Horizon Health and Graham Road surgeries in January and reports have now been published.

Feedback from patients at both surgeries found they struggled to book appointments, with many left waiting on hold on the telephone for ‘hours at a time’ while another said they had to wait three days to get an appointment with a healthcare professional.

When asked how satisfied they were with their appointment overall at Graham Road, out of the 10 respondents, three said they were satisfied and four said they were dissatisfied, while three did not answer.

At Horizon Health one patient mentioned they booked appointments in person because they said it was ‘impossible’ to get any available appointment online or on the phone.

As most patients of Horizon Health were affected by mental health problems, Healthwatch recommended the surgery should have a clear signposting or referring system to the mental health and community support services and an information board about what to do when a person is in crisis.

Pier Health Group, service provider at both surgeries, is looking to move Graham Road surgery to new premises in Weston town centre next year.

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John Heather, chairman of Pier Health Group, said: “We value this constructive feedback from Healthwatch North Somerset. Since their visit, we have been working hard to implement a range of measures to improve services at these practices.

“This has included the appointment of a lead GP and diabetic nurse prescriber, transformation in the way we work through the introduction of a new administrative hub – combining two practice administration teams together for improved resilience and call answering, improving the handling and processing of patient prescriptions.

“The AskMyGP service has also been implemented in Graham Road, with 80 per cent of patients using the service reporting higher satisfaction in accessing services.

“We’re also providing new services for the benefit of patients through a new direct access physiotherapy service, and the implementation of an online consultation service called Push Doctor.

“We’ve received positive feedback from patients on our work so far, and will continue to work alongside partners and patients to provide further improvements.”