Education, Health, Social & Welfare

BGPC has listened to concerns of residents regarding healthcare provision in our area. Cllr Malcolm Speed and Cllr Sally Zubic have worked hard to address this issue, with several meetings taking place over the summer with the Lincolnshire East Clinical Commissioning Group

Bardney Group Parish Council held a meeting with the Doctors Surgery, NHS England and the CCG to raise your concerns in relation to the service issues raised.

Appointments We asked why the surgery didn’t open until 10.00am. The surgery said the Bardney was a sub branch of Woodhall Spa and therefore the contract with the CCG meant that they opened at 10.00 am. We pointed out that many patients wanted a service from 8.00 am especially those patients who worked full time. The surgery agreed this was not ideal but this was how the service had been set up and staffed. We asked if patients could call Woodhall Spa surgery when they opened at 8.30 am. The surgery said that if there was an emergency then they would always try and get a doctor to respond even, if it was by the doctor calling a patient back but they were unable to offer a full service for Bardney from 8.00 or 8.30 am.

We asked why it was so difficult get an appointment at Bardney. The surgery agreed that since one of the Doctors had left it had become difficult for patients to get appointments. However in July they appointed a Nurse Practitioner and this means that more appointments have become available. A nurse practitioner is able to diagnose and prescribe medication and has undergone specialist training before undertaking this role. The surgery said that when patients phoned for an appointment the reception staff had been asked to try and assess the urgency of the appointment and whether it was appropriate for the nurse practitioner to been seen instead of a doctor. We are aware that many patients feel that questions relating to their illness from reception staff often seem intrusive and therefore many patients do not want to answer questions from an unqualified member of staff. This was put to the surgery who responded that patients did not have to answer such questions but it was done in an attempt to triage appointments because one person’s emergency was not seen as urgent by other patients or medical staff.

The surgery was asked why people had to call or queue up outside the surgery at 10.00am in order to get a same day emergency appointment. The surgery said that prior to the appointment of the nurse practitioner patients may have had to do this, but now there were more appointments it was no longer necessary. We asked how many appointments were available on the day we attended the meeting at 2.00pm. Appointments were checked and there were still 10 appointments available for that day. Since then we have checked on one other occasion and at 11.30am there were 2 appointments still available.

We asked how many appointments were released at 10.00am. The surgery said that half of the days available appointments were released at 10.00am. The other half were released on a Tuesday at around 2.00pm. These appointments were split between online bookings and telephone bookings and were for the following week. We told the surgery that we had received complaints about the release of appointments in this way because these appointments often went within 10 minutes and it was not always convenient for patients to phone at this time. The surgery said they had tried various different ways of releasing appointments, even for a short period allowing patients to book into the future without restrictions but every way they tried always didn’t suit someone. They agreed it was a problem that all surgeries faced and they didn’t seem to be an answer that everyone was happy with.

We raised the particular problems patients had booking appointments if they worked full time and worked away from home. The surgery agreed this could cause problems and they hoped the online service and out of hours appointments may help this particular group of patients. We told the surgery that although some patients were aware that appointments were available at Louth on evenings and weekends, Louth was difficult to get to especially as there was no direct public transport and not public transport at all on a Sunday.

The surgery agreed that Louth was not ideal and would only be a viable option for certain patients who had their own transport and were unable to access appointments at the surgery because of for example work commitments. They said that they hoped moving forward that other areas would hold evening and weekend clinics, for example Woodhall Spa and Horncastle but at the moment Louth was the only option.

It has been reported to the Council that some patients were receiving priority treatment when it came to booking appointments, we asked the surgery if this was true. The surgery said that they had a VIP list of patients that were suffering from terminal illnesses nearing the end of their life, and that these patients would be given priority.

The surgery raised the issue of non attendance of appointments and said it was a particular problem in Bardney. Bardney patients make up 36% of the practices patients but 48% of non attendances are at Bardney surgery. The surgery said they found this very difficult to deal with as they may have told people appointments were not available only to have patients not turn up. The surgery has set up a texting reminder service for appointments in an attempt to reduce non attendance to get this service a form is available from the reception desk.

Repeat Prescriptions. If you have access to the internet this may save you some time and trouble, it will also release surgery time for those who don’t have access to the internet. The online service allows patients to order repeat prescriptions on line so you don’t have to go into the surgery to do this. You can also get a form from the chemist which you want to collect your prescription from, and the surgery will then arrange this. I have tried this service and previously I was going to the surgery to put my repeat prescription in the box, returning to the surgery to pick up my prescription, then walking round to the chemist to get it filled. The new service meant that I filled a form in from the chemist at Bardney and handed it into the surgery, when my repeat prescription was due I went on line and ordered it by ticking two boxes. The online form told me when my medication would be ready and I collected from the chemist on that day thereby saving myself unnecessary trips into Bardney. Apparently chemists across the country offer this service so if for example you work in Lincoln and want to collect your medication from Boots in the High Street just fill in a form from Boots and hand it in at the surgery.

Home visits Some patients told us they were unable to get a home visit from a doctor. We asked the surgery why. The surgery said that they do operate home visits for those who are truly housebound and there was a set of criteria to assess if a home visit was necessary. We asked why this was needed. The surgery said that one home visit took the same time as 6 surgery appointments so home visits inevitably would reduce the number of appointments available, therefore they wanted to try and keep home visits for those patients who couldn’t make it into the surgery.

Summary The appointment of a nurse practitioner means that more appointments are now available. Patients shouldn’t need to call or queue outside at 10.00am to get an emergency same day appointment. Appointments are released on a Tuesday at around 2.00pm for the following week, which can be booked by telephone or online. Patients who are unable to attend at surgery times can book evening or weekend appointments at Louth by phoning the surgery. Repeat prescriptions can be ordered on line. Chemists have forms which allow the surgery to send your prescriptions direct to them so you can go direct to the chemist of your choice to collect your medication.

What we need from you Please let us know if getting a same day emergency appointment is still a problem Please sign up for the online service and try to book appointments this way and let us know if this works for you. Online forms are available from the surgery If anyone tries the out of hours evening/weekend surgery at Louth let us know if this type of service is of value. If you have missed an appointment we would like to know why and if they if anything that can be done to reduce non attendance of appointments. If you have access to the internet sign up for the online repeat prescription service and try this out, let us know what you think Even if you don’t want or can’t get access to the online service you can still get your medication fulfilled by the chemist of your choice which will save you a trip to the doctor to pick up your prescription. Sign up for the text appointment reminder service by filling in a form available from reception.

What we will do We will collate your responses and take them to the next meeting for further discussion. We will do fine to monitor the availability on same day emergency appointments and online appointments. We will ask the surgery to provide us with non attendance figures for Bardney surgery.

If you have any ideas on how the service can be improved let us know, it seems everyone knows the service offered doesn’t work for everyone but no one is sure what changes would really help.

We will ask the surgery to put forms for there online and texting service online so that patients can print them out at home and fill them in, to save a trip to the surgery to collect them.

We are sorry we didn’t come away from this meeting with what we all would ideally want, and this includes the Doctors at the surgery, but it seems costs and reductions in service mean this is not always going to be achievable. However we do believe continued dialogue with the surgery is important so that we can lobby for the changes that you believe are the most important for the community. So please communicate with us so that we can take your message to the surgery and work together to bring forward change.