Practice response to petition to ‘Improve the waiting and appointment times at Swallownest Health Centre – 29/06/2021

All staff at the Health Centre were saddened to be made aware about the recent petition  ‘Improve the waiting & appointment times at Swallownest Health Centre’ . At Swallownest we have always been proud of ourselves with regards to the quality of the service we provide and have strived to improve patient care where we can. We have been experiencing extremely high demand for the past few months, which is mirrored in all parts of the NHS currently, all whilst continuing to help support the local vaccination programme at Anston. We are aware of the difficulties that patients are having getting through on the phones and we continue to take steps to address this.

Having said that the petition is factually incorrect and is predicated on a fundamental misunderstanding of the NHS GP contract. Waiting times on the phone are not over 1 hour. A great number of appointments is being offered, much higher than our historic activity levels, and have continued to be offered throughout the pandemic. All patients that require a face-to-face appointment have been offered one based on clinical need, which has always been the case.

The Practice Manager deals with complaints in accordance with the NHS complaints procedure, and it is incorrect to state that they are “falling on deaf ears” when no contact has been made. This could also be considered indirect discrimination. The “simple solution” requested in the petition is simply not possible under the current contracting arrangements, and thus signatures are being received under false pretences. The petition also makes a direct accusation of clinical negligence in the phrase “failing to provide the correct care”, which we strongly dispute.

The petition has been reported with a request to be removed at your earliest convenience.

Kind regards,

GP Partners.