Patients complain they have difficulty getting GP appointments

A meeting has been held with doctors at the William Budd Health Centre – following complaints from patients they have had difficulty getting appointments.

Filwood Councillor Chris Jackson went to the centre last month (November) and met with staff from The Merrywood Practice – after 14 residents contacted him who were mainly elderly or had young children. 

Cllr Jackson said concern had been raised about access to appointments – and some people felt they weren’t being taken seriously by care co-ordinators at the practice.

He said: “… I was there a long time. It was good of the doctors to give up their time, they weren’t on duty and stayed on after work.

“I had a long chat and went through all the issues and they told people to complain if they feel things aren’t going right. They take every complaint seriously.”

Resident June McNeill was one of the people who raised concerns after family members had difficulties with getting seen at the centre.

She said: “I needed an appointment for my grandson and tried for three weeks, he was very poorly and you couldn’t get one for love nor money…”

She said her daughter had also been unable to get an appointment when she was ill and after two weeks, because her other daughter had “demanded it” she was seen and hospitalised for a week at Southmead.

In a statement the practice said: “We were very pleased that Counsellor Chris Jackson took the time to come to The Merrywood Practice recently to discuss with us feedback from the local residents. 

“We appreciated the positive feedback he had with regards to care that has been received at the practice and it was also great to hear the understanding that he has for the difficulties we have had with decreasing funding, decreasing doctor numbers and the ongoing negative impact of the COVID Pandemic. 

“Alongside this, he did discuss with us some of the negative experiences that a number of patients have expressed whilst seeking medical care at the practice. We want to let you know that as a whole practice team we pride ourselves in aiming to serve the local community as best we can in these challenging times. Part of this has involved the doctors working with our care co-ordinators to develop pathways to try and get our patients to the right professional in an appropriate time frame for the individual issues. 

“We are sorry to hear that on some occasions patients have felt that this not appropriate or even obstructive. We do have the pathways in place with the aim of improving patient care and trying to assure access is available for all when needed the most. 

“If however,  people using our service feel that they have had a negative experience with any of our team, we would encourage them to contact us to discuss further. We assure you that any complaints are taken seriously, discussed with the partners and feedback given in a timely manner. We reflect on each complaint as a team with the aim of improving the practice experience. These complaints are not held on patients records and will not impact on any further interactions with any of the practice team.

“We are a passionate team, and proud of working within the local community.”

Dr Phil Chisnall

Dr Rebekah stone

Dr Jade Mayes

Partners

On behalf of The Merrywood Practice

Cllr Jackson added he had visited or emailed all the concerned residents and shown them the statement – and they had “understood the issues” once he had explained it to them.