Public meeting in Eldene about surgeries exposes shocking patient stories

By Jamie Hill - 15 November 2018

HealthPolitics

Last night the third of five public meetings for patients affected by the new IMH ‘super-partnership’ of GP’s surgeries was held in Eldene.

The room was packed with patients who were very eager to tell their stories to the convenors of the meeting, Parish Councillor Bazil Solomon and Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Sarah Church.

Members of the public were appalled that they had not been consulted on the change to the provision of their primary care services and demanded to know how the decision had been made. The Clinical Commissioning Group, who were not represented, have laid responsibility with the GPs themselves who are forced to cost-cut as part of the 2016 Government 5-Year Forward Review.

Local residents spoke of finding no doctor available to conduct a Stroke Review, incomplete prescriptions for insulin and other essential life-saving medication, and being cut off at the top of the queue after waiting over 45 minutes on the phone. There were accounts of being sent around Swindon to other surgeries and finding no service there either. One patient could not book an appointment at all as all slots were booked for a month, and anyone who cannot spare 45 minutes on the phone to book an appointment should not even bother, according to those present.

Bazil Solomon said, “This situation is shocking. I sit on the Patient Participation Group at my surgery and I will be following up on behalf of residents.”

Sarah Church, who took notes of the patients’ complaints, added “To hear first-hand what people under the IMH super-partnership are going through has appalled me. Although the CCG have asserted that no one has come to harm, I would disagree. People tonight were deeply distressed that they could not access essential appointments and medication. They spoke of feeling isolated, and worried that someone will end up dead. We have to start putting patients first.”

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