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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Patients waiting days to be seen at new doctor's surgery after glitch

A doctors' surgery has apologised after a new appointment system left patients waiting days to be seen.

Peter Weaving photo
Dr Peter Weaving

North Carlisle Medical Practice, in Eden Street, Carlisle, introduced the rapid access system last month to reduce the number of “unnecessary” appointments.

The system means patients cannot book an appointment directly with a doctor, but instead are allocated a “phone appointment”.

They will then have a telephone consultation with a medical professional who will decide whether the person needs to see a doctor.

The News & Star was contacted by a patient at the surgery, which was formerly Stanwix Medical Centre, after he claims he was made to wait EIGHT days for a telephone appointment.

The man, who does not want to be named, said: “My wife had an appointment on the Wednesday, and I went in with her and asked for an appointment. I was given a telephone appointment time the next Thursday.

“When I spoke to someone they booked an appointment for me that day. When I saw the doctor they said I had a serious infection and should have come earlier – but how was I to know it was serious?”

He continued: “I’m not the only one who has had problems – all my friends and family have. You’re lucky if you can get a telephone appointment within a few days.”

Peter Weaving, a partner at the practice, said he had been “horrified” to learn of the issue but reassured patients that steps had been taken to rectify it.

“Our patient experience group raised this issue with us,” he said. “It is absolutely unacceptable. I can only hold my hands up and say how sorry we are. It should not have happened and was a training issue.”

Dr Weaving said the system is working in one respect, with a 30 per cent greater capacity in doctors appointments, but said that they had not factored in the demand. “All the daily telephone appointments were being allocated quickly, and then people were being given appointments for subsequent days,” he said.

“This should not have happened. We have changed procedures so that even if all the appointments are gone, patients will have their call returned on an ad hoc basis that day – but will be fully informed of this.”

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