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Frome medical centre responds to concerns

FROME Medical Centre’s senior partner has defended criticism in the community about the availability of doctors and the length of waiting times at the practice. 

Dr Tina Merry from the medical centre has written to the Frome Times following letters from concerned residents in Frome.

One letter was in response to a campaign for 24-hour on-call doctors and highlighted greater concerns such as the availability of doctors and waiting times. The resident pointed out that walk-in clinics are the only option for same-day medical care, when the likelihood is that patients will see a nurse and not a doctor.

The letter, and the medical practice’s reply in full are on page 25.

In her letter in response to these claims, Dr Tina Merry said, “At the Walk-In centre we aim to see patients within two hours, and currently our average waiting time is 40 minutes. Our recent patient satisfaction survey showed that 91% of patients were either happy or very happy with this service. You will appreciate that there are times when there is a queue beyond the 40 minute average wait. Conversely, there are also occasions when a patient can walk in and be seen without any wait at all. However, the reality is that even if we were given far larger financial resources within the NHS, no practice in the land would ever be able to guarantee instant immediate access to a doctor.

“The service at the Walk-In centre is delivered by both General Practitioner doctors and Nurse Practitioners from the Frome Medical Practice.

“Nurse Practitioners are experienced and skilled registered nurses who have chosen to undertake additional post-graduate degree level training in a wide area of medical diagnosis and treatment with a focus on everyday illnesses.

“Services like these are part of the strategy developed by the Department of Health to support primary care (the doctor’s surgery) and reduce the pressure on accident and emergency departments.

“With regards to the time it takes to see a doctor, your correspondent comments that they were was not offered an appointment with a doctor for two weeks. We are aware that many of our patients wish to see their own doctor, for all the obvious reasons.

“However, there will clearly be occasions when indeed it will not be possible to see your own doctor for some time. He or she may well be away on training, a course or on leave. Our patients can choose to wait for their own doctor’s return. Alternatively there is on offer, the choice of obtaining an earlier appointment with another doctor. We leave that choice and option to our patients.”