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Frome Medical Centre vows to improve service

THE senior partners at Frome Medical Centre have responded to criticism by vowing to do all they can to improve the service. 

The response follows a story in the last issue of the Frome Times about patients’ frustration at long waiting times of around three weeks to see a doctor.

In a letter from the senior partners they made it clear that they want the service they provide to improve and will do all they can to achieve this. They also highlighted some of the difficulties they have had to face, the services that are available and an update on a proposal to introduce a text message reminder service.

The Frome Medical Centre senior partners told Frome Times, “We are doing all that we can to improve the situation. We can only apologise again for the current waiting times for a routine GP appointment.

“There is no easy or immediate answer either in Frome or elsewhere in the country, but what we can do is assure you that all of us here will continue to strive to provide Frome with excellent and locally delivered health care of which we are proud.

“Since the New Year the practice has re-scheduled the working day in order to provide more surgery times, thus increasing capacity. In addition we are actively trying to recruit additional GPs, but, currently there is a dire national shortage of GPs and recruitment is extremely difficult.

“We would wish to emphasise that the walk-in clinic at the Community Hospital offers same-day appointments to our patients who need or wish to be seen on the day and to complement the booked appointment service. No appointment is required.

“We are grateful to one of your readers suggesting that we use text reminders for appointments. We have already been using this technology for several months. However, for reasons of confidentiality we have to have our patients’ specific consent to operate this service. We are collating these consents as quickly as we are able.

“We would like to thank our patients for their understanding and messages of support. In addition, we would also like to thank our dedicated staff who work increasingly long hours as we all try to meet increasing demands with sometimes limited resources. They are under great pressure and do a fantastic job for all of our patients.”

Letter from the senior partners.

Dear Sir,

We are writing as Partners in Frome Medical Practice following your recent headline article on our services and appointment times. We are grateful to you allowing us the opportunity to respond.

Let us say at the outset that we are sorry for the current situation where some patients have to wait weeks for a routine appointment to see a doctor. It is far from the situation we would like to be in and we understand the stress this causes. We are however doing all that we can to improve the situation.

We constantly monitor our waiting times and your readers should be made aware that since the New Year the practice has re-scheduled the working day in order to provide more surgery times, thus increasing capacity. In addition we are actively trying to recruit additional GPs, but, currently there is a dire national shortage of GPs and recruitment is extremely difficult.

We would wish to emphasise that the walk-in clinic at the Community Hospital offers same day appointments to our patients who need or wish to be seen on the day and to complement the booked appointment service. No appointment is required. This walk-in clinic is managed and staffed by the Frome Medical Practice. As well as our experienced Nurse Practitioners there is always at least one GP and usually two who are on duty at any one time. We are shortly to announce a major new development with the provision of this service.

Your readers should also be aware that in addition to routine GP appointments, we provide chronic disease clinics managing asthma, COPD, diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease and depression. We have open access blood clinics, telephone appointments and minor operations clinics. We also provide other health promotion clinics dealing with smoking cessation, obesity, alcohol, drug issues and immunization. We offer a specialised young persons and sexual health clinic as well as a travel clinic. Our nurses and GPs visit all the local nursing and residential homes on a regular basis. We work closely with Frome Community Hospital, supporting the fracture clinic and the Minor Injuries Unit. We also provide medical cover for the hospital and the assessment beds that help prevent emergency admissions to the Royal United Hospital.

We are grateful to one of your readers suggesting that we use text reminders for appointments. We have already been using this technology for several months. However for reasons of confidentiality we have to have our patients’ specific consent to operate this service. We are collating these consents as quickly as we are able.

We would like to thank our patients for their understanding and messages of support. In addition, we would also like to thank our dedicated staff who work increasingly long hours as we all try to meet increasing demands with sometimes limited resources. They are under great pressure and do a fantastic job for all of our patients.

The NHS in general is under great strain. Nationally, there are particular issues with both GP waiting times and the underfunding of GP surgeries generally. We can only apologise again for the current waiting times for a routine GP appointment. There is no easy or immediate answer either in Frome or elsewhere in the country, but what we can do is assure you that all of us here will continue to strive to provide Frome with excellent and locally delivered health care of which we are proud.

Tina Merry, Helen Kingston, Tom Cahill, Diane Bungay, David Powell, Polly McRae, Robert Taylor,

Partners Frome Medical Practice

 

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