Home Kent News Springhead Health GP surgery to launch ‘urgent review’ after backlash from patients

Springhead Health GP surgery to launch ‘urgent review’ after backlash from patients

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Original article from Kent Live

A Northfleet doctors' surgery has committed to launching an urgent review of some of its services, after it was heavily criticised by local residents.

Patients have specifically highlighted issues with booking appointments and seeing specific GPs.

Springfield Health was previously ranked as the seventh-worst in Kent according to a patient survery.

Read more: Springhead Health Northfleet: Kent's 'worst doctors' surgery' where people can't see a GP

It showed just 16 per cent of respondents were able to see their preferred doctor when they would like to.

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A dedicated Facebook group with hundreds of members has also been set up, labelling the surgery as "Kent's worst".

However, the surgery has now responded to patient criticism, clarifying underlying reasons behind some issues, whilst committing to looking into a number of the issues raised by disgruntled locals.

'Patient satisfaction is extremely important to us'

Gail Arnold, Chair of Springhead Health said: "Patient satisfaction is extremely important to us and we know that some patients trying to access Springhead Health recently may have had difficulty in being able to do so.

"We know that some patients have not had the experience we would have wished when contacting the surgery and we recognise that telephone access is a particular problem.

"We are now conducting an urgent review of the phone system set up by the supplier to identify what is going wrong.

"We also recognise that the process for dealing with medicine requests is not yet as efficient as it should be and again we are working to improve this."

Existing issues were also attributed to difficulties hiring new clinical staff and a continued approach centred around mitigating the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The surgery is expecting further additional GPs and other clinical staff to start soon, and have committed to, "increasing the number of reception staff so that we can shorten our call handling time and quicken some of our other process response times."

They are also reaching out to patients to further improve the relationship between the practice and those who use its services:

" Our community is important to us and we understand that access to health care is essential and often needed at times of stress.

"Our aim is to work with our patients and the wider community, so we have formed a Patient Participation Group and we welcome new members to join.

"This is a way for us to understand your thoughts and feelings, but also for you to understand what we are trying to provide and the challenges we may face.

" We continue to strive to enable Springhead Health to be a place where our patients have a good experience of care and one which is valued by the local community."

However, some issues were addressed more directly as being simply either out of the practice's control, or issues with other services provided by separate providers that were not actually part of Springhead Health:

"A number of the comments we have seen do not relate to services provided by Springhead Health or refer to events before Springhead Health existed (July 2019).

"There are also comments which relate to the services of other organisations which use the site at Fleet.

"There remain a range of services provided out of the Fleet site by different organisations and we recognise that it can be difficult for patients to know which organisation is providing the service they are accessing.

"To improve this we are in the process of implementing our own signposting and branding which will identify clearly everything that we provide."

It was also emphasised how important it is for patients to work with their surgeries in order to prevent wasting GPs time and potential appointment slots:

"One of the easiest ways for us to see more people more efficiently is for patients to notify us if they wish to cancel their appointment in advance.

"Many opportunities for both patients and practice staff are lost because this does not happen.

"Each week on average 60 GP slots and 50 nurse appointments are wasted because the patients who booked them fail to attend.

"This is also contributing significantly to our pressures and affects all patients trying to access the surgery for their care."

Original Article