Doncaster doctors lay out issues behind patient problems in accessing GP surgeries

Doncaster doctors have told borough MPs that the intensity of the vaccination programme, poor phone systems and problems replacing quality staff are all contributing to problems in patients accessing GP surgeries.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 12:15 pm
Doncaster MPs Ed Miliband, Rosie Winterton and Nick Fletcher meet with Anthony Fitzgerald, director of strategy and delivery at Doncaster CCG and Dr David Crichton, Doncaster CCG chair

In a private meeting between NHS bosses and Doncaster’s three MPs, health leaders said the intensity of the covid vaccination programme where staff were being taken away from their day jobs had affected access to GPs.

They also said that ‘poor phone systems’ were failing to cope with demand and complex NHS contracts were leading to ‘time-consuming bureaucracy’.

Doncaster health bosses also said there’s been ‘difficulties of replacing qualitystaff’ who were leaving through ‘sickness and stress-related issues’ was highlighted as another issue.

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Labour’s Ed Miliband and Rosie Winterton as well as Conservative Nick Fletcher all said they had constituents contacting them about difficulties accessing GP surgeries.

It’s understood that GPs have been forced to respond following an uptick in complaints and abuse from patients.

Doncaster NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) recently outlined plans to crack down on persistently abusive patients who threaten and harass staff in GP surgeries by throwing them off the register.

Dame Rosie Winterton, MP for Doncaster Central, praised the Covid vaccination programme and said staff were ‘rushed off their feet and exhausted’ but people were ‘getting quite cross’ about the lack of access to a GP.

Tory Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher, said getting a GP appointment was the ‘biggest complaint’ he was hearing from constituents but would raise problems GPs are facing to ministers.

Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband reportedly asked if the frustration was down to more appointments over the phone or video-call or if it was purely demand. GPs said it was a combination of both.

Dr Dean Eggitt of Doncaster’s Oakwood Surgery, and chief executive of the Local MedicalCommittee, asked the MPs directly to help address the issue of bureaucracy in the job.

He said: “There’s lots of report writing and box-ticking that takes a lot of our time without benefit to patient care.

“We need to clean up the national contracts and provide stability and capacity so we can get on with it.”

Dr David Crichton, chair of the Doncaster CCG said: “The meeting was very positive, where everyone had the opportunity to put across their views and experiences of primary care in these difficult times where demand for services is exceptionally high.

“We look forward to further discussions and we’re grateful for their support and understanding of how we’re working hard to meet local demands and endeavour to find solutions while we continue to respond to Covid-19.”