Consultation over health concerns

Jim Radburn  of Carers in Hucknall asked questions to Dr Tony Marsh at a Commissioning group  event at the John Godber centre
Jim Radburn of Carers in Hucknall asked questions to Dr Tony Marsh at a Commissioning group event at the John Godber centre

Growing concerns over GP provision across Hucknall in light of new developments planned for the town has prompted the health authority to take action.

In various community meetings held in recent months, the subject of doctors’ appointments has been a recurring theme with residents.

And with more housing earmarked for the town resulting in the inevitable boost to the area’s population, the pressure on the current practices is worrying many patients.

In the latest meeting of the Hucknall Carers’ Group, Michael Ellis, engagement manager for the Nottingham North and East Clinical Commissioning Group, the body responsible for planning and buying NHS services and ensuring quality healthcare locally, met with members to hear their concerns.

“Getting an appointment is like winning the lottery,” said Elsie Nicholls of Lancaster Road. “And then it’s not necessarily with the doctor of your choice.

“Very often you have to sit and go through your medical history for the first five minutes with a doctor and then you feel rushed to leave.”

These feelings were echoed around the room.

“The receptionists act like the gatekeepers to protect the doctors from the patients,” added Geoff Curtis of Papplewick Lane. “It’s that Berlin Wall mentality which just makes the situation much worse.”

Chairman of the carers’ group, Jim Radburn has raised the concerns of the group and his own with Healthwatch questioning the effectiveness of having to make an appointment four weeks in advance.

“The whole experience of visiting a GP surgery is very frustrating and I know it’s not just my opinion or experience so I will keep fighting to try and improve things for the benefit of everybody.”

Aneel Bilkhu, GP at Torkard Medical Practice and chairman of the Hucknall Planning for Growth Steering Group said these were difficult times.

“Despite the significant challenges that the profession is facing, the GPs in Hucknall are passionate about working here and are determined to do our best to improve patient care.

“Given the pressures on GP services, it’s understandable that patients are sometimes frustrated at the number of appointments available with accessibility being an issue that faces the profession nationally.

“We are looking at innovative ways of working to address this and as part of the Steering Group investigations, we will be looking at GP access and all the options available to us in Hucknall to ensure we can improve the patient experience,” added Dr Bilkhu.

“We will examine what works elsewhere and what might work in Hucknall, and we’ll listen to the views of people from the Hucknall Planning for Growth Patient Working Group.”

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