Letter to Editor: What are Harlow GPs doing to meet increasing demand to be seen?
Health / Sun 12th Jun 2022 pm30 12:52pm
THE board meetings of the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care System are open to the public.
A representative from the Harlow Alliance Party is often the only person to attend.
Members of the public can table questions.
The following question was one of four raised at the boards most recent meeting. A response was sent on 1 June.
Q. Lots of patients in the Harlow area are still having difficulty getting through to surgeries for appointments and getting face to face appointments with GP’s. This is very evident from the number of posts highlighting this problem on various social media sites. What is the CCG doing to address this issue?
R. The following is a summary of the response:
Demand on general practice continues to rise when compared to pre-pandemic and to date the increase is 7-10%. Across West Essex an additional 102k (a 7.1% increase) in appointments were undertaken compared with pre-pandemic appointments
General practices are operating a range of models to manage priorities ensuring patients who need to be seen are seen whilst also offering a range of virtual appointments in combination which has been welcomed by patients too.
Month on month we are seeing improvements across most practices increasing the proportion of face-to-face appointments from 30-40% in January/February 2022 to an average of around 60% now.
Through the Winter Access Fund each practice has an agreed action plan to make improvements within Harlow.
I think it would be interesting to learn from each practice in Harlow just what proportion of face-to-face appointments are being undertaken and more about their action plan to improve their service.
Leader of the Harlow Alliance Party
At lister house you are lucky if you can even get a phone appointment. Even then you have to wait weeks. I’ve not seen my own GP for over 3 years, either busy, training or on holiday. The downstairs surgery is always closed, god knows what they do there now. About time some action was taken.
I have a relative (not in Harlow) who has just become a GP and only works three days a week! This persons partner also only works a shared job so that between them they can look after their children. Is this why we are so short with staff numbers?
The Lowdown website, produced by the Centre for Ethical Healthcare, had this to say in February about GP numbers: "The average number of patients per GP practice rose from 7,100 to 8,900 between 2014/15 and 2020/21 – the number of practices fell from 8,000 to 6,800. A GP working in a practice serving the most deprived patients in 2019 was, on average, responsible for almost 10% more patients than a GP in the most affluent areas. https://lowdownnhs.info/explainers/are-gps-already-privatised-or-still-part-of-the-nhs/
If you are concerned about the state of the NHS, then please sign the 'Rebuild Our NHS, No More Needless Suffering' petition created by Keep Our NHS Public at: https://keepournhspublic.com/petition-rebuild-our-nhs/
If you want to give our Tory government a message that you deserve better then consider joining the Trades Union Congress march on Saturday 18 June setting off at 12 noon from Portland Place (near BBC Broadcasting House). Nearest tube Oxford Circus on the Central Line. For more details see: https://www.tuc.org.uk/DemandBetter
I suspect our taxes are being wasted/diverted to other things. After all if more people are here, they would be paying taxes which would fund the required increase in services. We are also told there are more jobs than people to fill them. If this was true though shouldn’t everything be great. Sadly everything is going down the toilet faster than a day old vindaloo, which indicates we are all being taken for mugs again by the sub par politicians we are told to choose from. The future needs to be parties like the “Harlow Alliance party” who at least have a genuine interest in the electorates needs and concerns, as opposed to the Labour/conservative parties we have now which still cling to 100 year old ideals and beliefs that just don’t work for anybody anymore. I am sure it will be a long hard road for whoever takes on the Westminster big hitters, but things can’t carry on as they are for much longer………
Join the TUC Demo Coach 18th June 09.30 from Harlow Playhouse .Book your seat Now. http;//tiny/WeDemandBetter £1 donation or what you can afford. Harlow And district Trades council(FB)And Essex unite Community Branch. Enough is Enough .Education,Health,Housing ,Social welfare.The list goes on.
They should get back to normal like the rest of the country
I concur with most of the other subscribers. At Lister medical centre I have not seen my GP in 3yrs, until recently you could not even walk in. The best I could do on appointments was to see the Practice nurse for my annual cardiology checkup. It was the usual questionaire, waste of time could be done as a call appointment. When I do call for a needed appointment you listen to 2.5mins of pre recording then told you're 35th in the queue (1.6hr wait) or the waiting time is full and cut you off, 5 times between morning and just before closing on Friday. It is no wonder the A&E is buckling. It's a sorry state of affairs
Our government, indeed any government, needs to improve the GP services that are failing residents. I have not had my annual check up that was provided before Covid, for three years now. And what about Dentists too?
Lister Medical Centre is shocking. I wonder if there are any actual doctors there. Downstairs is usually closed, give yourself an hour if you want to try and speak to someone on the phone and as for actually getting an appointment, no chance! Bring back the old building, far better service, always got an appointment and always spoke to someone on the phone without waiting for over an hour. Evert other service has been back to normal for months, come on doctors!
Sydenham House surgery the worse, the door been shut since the start of the pandemic. Until a couple of months ago the sign on the door told you to knock on the window and have a conversation with the receptionist through a small opening, The lights are off! You would think the surgery has shut down. The telephone is answered quickly and at 830am was told i would get a call back which i got at 615pm Sorry the world has opened and back to normal so why aren't our Drs surgeries??
WoW Sydenham house has a door open, still don’t know if you can physically see the doctor, as no chairs In the waiting room, suppose it’s a start.