Will GP surgeries ever be the same again in Harlow?

General / Sat 3rd Jul 2021 at 02:53pm

THE simple answer is probably “No”.

There is a longer and more in-depth article to be written here but we thought we wanted to write a piece and put the question out for debate.

No doubt there are people in Harlow who have had good experiences with their surgery and those who have had bad experiences.

But this may not be about how you feel but more about what you are going to get.

However, a number of readers have contacted us and asked when the GP surgeries are going to get back to normal?

We did approach the West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and asked them a couple of questions.

Q. When do Harlow surgery expect to get back to “normal”, that is to say, when can patients expect face to face meeting with their GP?

Perhaps you could detail your route map out?

West Essex CCG said: “GP practices across the West Essex CCG area have been open to patients throughout the pandemic, offering a range of appointments via telephone and video consultations and face to face appointments to those who need them.

“As the COVID-19 restrictions ease, practices are continuing to offer face to face appointments to patients based on clinical need. To make sure patients and staff remain safe and reduce the spread of the virus, everyone must continue to follow social distancing and hygiene measures and wear a face covering when entering the surgery.”

This may well be an unsatisfactory answer, then again, it took them nine days to come up with this five line response.

Therefore, may be it it is better to speak to someone at the coalface. We spoke to someone who has been working in GP surgeries for decades.

They said: “The idea of thirty people with a variety of ailments all packed into a badly ventilated room did not make sense pre-pandemic and makes even less sense now.

We may now have the opportunity to consign to history ways of working that came out of post-war welfare state.

We also have to accept that there are less GPs. Again, we were struggling for numbers before March 2020 and we now have to adapt a system around that fact.

This is also an opportunity to work in a much more modern and forward thinking way. I could go into details regarding health hubs, appointments with a different range of practitioners and not necessarily the doctor.

I am not saying everything will be good. There are people who establish a relationship with their doctor and want to see their doctor. Quite right too but I can see that ending up as a luxury.

Again, before March 2020, very few people had heard of Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Many people spend a lot of time speaking to their family via on-line portals. They may now have the opportunity to interact with their surgery in a similar way.

Coronavirus may well have “helped” to accelerate man things when it comes down to local health services. You can deny that bit it may well be inevitable”.

There will be change. There may well be further privatisation.

But that doesn’t mean the people of Harlow should accept low standards.

The people of Harlow may well need better representation within the community.

There has to be a very big effort to ensure that Harlow patients are not patronised, bullied, short changed or the victims/recipients of a two tier health service that is no more than a medical apartheid.

If there are patient participation groups then we, having published over 22,000 stories, have never heard of them, which may well lead you to a certain conclusion.

As we said this is intended to be a springboard for debate. Let us know what you think.

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8 Comments for Will GP surgeries ever be the same again in Harlow?:

Joan cook
2021-07-04 09:34:40

Face to face consultations are essential a doctor carries out a medical by for example listening with a stethoscope, taking a temperature, blood pressure and a physical examination. Our G.P.s are an essential part of out health care system picking up on many serious illnesses taking the time to listen and reassure. I think for many they will go online and diagnose themselves rather than bother to wait for ages to get through to a surgery then wait for a doctors call. Which is very inconvenient if your working. Life threatening illnesses could easily be missed. I don’t think this is progress.

Stephen Wright
2021-07-05 15:04:51

Listerhouse doctors are never seen face to face even before the pandemic. They have never been there for the patients .

2021-07-08 16:08:22

How comes a new building like Lister Medical Centre has been built without sufficient ventilation. Surely the question of ventilation should have been considered at the planning stage. Even without the pandemic people would still be there with various conditions that would be contageous and fatal to some. The problem with phone consultations or zoom ones, is that not everyone has a private area they can talk freely. Maybe in the toilet but, if somebody wants to, they can still listen through the door. It is not as if you are given a specific time, to try and arrange to be on your own. You are given a morning or an afternoon so it is not that easy to find time completely to yourself for a whole morning or a whole afternoon. But I do think we should be given the choice. There are times a short chat with the doctor to sort out something minor would be sufficient and more practical. I would also like them to have a facility to be emailed for non urgent matters. It would save a lot of telephone calls.

Alison Davison
2021-07-12 16:18:08

Are they going to privatise our GPS. Is it any wonder A&E are being overwhelmed. Most people want face to face doctor appointments especially people with hearing problems.

Barbara Jarvis
2021-07-16 17:39:41

Someone I care for is registered at lister House harlow. He has had an ongoing ear infection since March. Kept getting sent home with antibiotics. Now he's in hospital on a ventilator because the infection has gone into his brain. Thanks Lister for not listening

David Hughes
2021-07-26 08:11:44

I nearly lost my wife because of the lack of care from * the ambulance call handler. * the paramedics who misjudged my wifes condition. * the ward in pah that sent her home to soon after having her apendix out. The stress of all this has left my wife with on going panic and anxiety attacks, and even when you complain to the patient care authorities they block you in every way they can.

2021-08-13 12:09:21

I spoke to a nurse at PAH who adamantly states that unless doctors get back to their assigned surgeries, A&E will not be able to cope. More and more people are attending A&E because they want that face to face contact, not because they need A&E. A lot of people have not got the means or up-to-date technology to do zoom calls, send photos etc and even if they have, surely that's not what we pay our N.I. payments! I myself have had a condition since last October, I have had numerous phone calls, sent pics, been referred to 2 different specialists, had more phone calls and yet I have still not been diagnosed, just various prescriptions to see if it helps (which it doesn't). Surely 1 professional having a close up look, examination, would solve the issue! I am nearly 60 and have never caught an illness by sitting in a doctors waiting area! What a poor excuse!

2022-06-09 20:47:52

I think the NHS GP system has deserted their patients and I don't know how to find out if I have a medical problem.leastof all if anything would be done about it Off

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