Escalation of concerns in relation to the Meridian Surgery, Peacehaven.
In July, several reviews were posted on the Healthwatch East Sussex Feedback Centre which highlighted patient concerns about the Meridian Surgery in Peacehaven. Similar messages were also received through social media. These focused on challenges in making contact with, and receiving a response from the Surgery, with extremely long wait times being recorded.
To gauge the extent of these issues, Healthwatch East Sussex sought feedback from users of the Surgery by developing and distributing a short video and supporting narrative which were posted on both social media and our website, as well as distributed via our newsletter.
In response, Healthwatch East Sussex has received over 100 comments, with over 60 reviews of the Surgery made on our Feedback Centre and submissions also being made social media and via email. Positive messages were received, however, the difficulty in making contact and the knock-on impacts of this were evident in the vast majority of comments received.
In August, Healthwatch East Sussex wrote to the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) responsible for commissioning these services setting out a summary of the main issues identified in the information received. This focused on:
- Long wait times to make contact via the phone system
- Poor functionality of the online appointment booking system
- Delays in making contact with, or hearing from practice staff
- Challenges in escalating issues around symptoms or access to medication
The CCG has responded and acknowledged that the scale of the responses over a short period of time and the common issues identified were a matter of concern, and that these have been discussed with the Business Manager and the senior GP partners at the surgery.
The response received identified that the practices have agreed with the CCG a comprehensive plan to take steps which respond to the issues, which includes:
- recruitment of additional reception staff – 1 new part time receptionist recently started and 3 new receptionists are currently being recruited
- the recruitment of a clinical pharmacist, physiotherapist and a social prescriber under the national ARRS scheme and this will increase the capacity of the Peacehaven practices to meet patient needs, which should free up GP capacity for patient appointments
- new dedicated phone lines installed for outbound calls so that staff phoning out do not use the same lines that patients use to phone in
- a new dedicated phone line for patients to contact the medicines management team
- reception managers now monitoring calls and supporting staff to deal effectively and efficiently with calls
- recent recruitment of 5 additional GPs that will increase appointment capacity
The CCG will monitor the situation closely over the coming few months and will offer the practices whatever support they can to improve their service for local people. This will include making regular contact with Healthwatch East Sussex to explore any further feedback which is received in relation to these services.
Healthwatch East Sussex will continue to monitor this situation and we encourage patients to continue to provide us with updates on these services.
This account highlights the importance of sharing your views and experience of health and care services with Healthwatch East Sussex. Please continue to tell us how services are working for you, whether it’s good or bad?
Positive feedback helps services keep up good work, and where things go wrong, critical feedback can help providers and commissioners to understand what changes are needed going forwards.
Remember to leave your feedback at www.healthwatcheastsussex.co.uk or contact us:
Tel: 0333 101 4007 (lines open Mon-Fri 10am-2pm)