Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, on 30 June held a public information meeting for patients registered with Circuit Lane Surgery.
Around 90 people attended the information meeting, which also allowed patients to ask questions to the panel of senior decision makers within the local NHS. The panellists included representatives from OneMedical Group, which took over the provision of healthcare at the Surgery in September 2016, representatives of the local Clinical Commissioning Group, Patient Participation Group and doctors and staff from Circuit Lane Surgery.
The key issues discussed at the meeting included lateness of patients receiving prescriptions and difficulties in booking appointments.
Alok has now written to all those interested in Circuit Lane Surgery. The full letter is set out below:
I am writing to you following the recent public information meeting on Friday 30 June for patients registered with Circuit Lane surgery.
By way of background, as you will know in September 2016 OneMedical Group became the new healthcare provider at Circuit Lane Surgery.
In January I met with OneMedical Group and the Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to discuss a number of issues that local residents have raised with me regarding Circuit Lane Surgery. The key issues discussed were lateness of patients receiving prescriptions, difficulty in booking appointments and attendance at a future public meeting.
I organised the public meeting to give OneMedical Group an opportunity to provide details of the work undertaken to address patient concerns, and to give patients an opportunity to put questions to OneMedical Group and the CCG.
The following issues were discussed:
At the meeting, Dr Funmi Chirnside, Lead GP for Circuit Lane Surgery noted that recruitment of doctors is being addressed at Circuit Lane Surgery, and explained that there are five regular locums who provide clinical sessions at Circuit Lane Surgery whilst they continue to recruit to substantive roles. It was explained that these locums have worked as part of the Circuit Lane clinical team for a sustained period of time providing continuity of care for patients. Many patients expressed their frustration in not being able to book an appointment for some weeks. However, in response to feedback, a walk-in clinic has been introduced at the surgery, with 30 patients seen per morning. I understand that the walk-in clinic will be available for the foreseeable future, giving patients the opportunity to be seen on the day. Furthermore, I am informed that a dedicated nurse focused on diabetes issues has also been recruited to the surgery, which will alleviate pressure on other doctors and nurses and open up availability for other appointments.
Telephone booking service
It was clear from the meeting that OneMedical Group recognise the need for an improved telephone booking service. They explained that the phone system they inherited from the previous provider is still under contract, but it is being audited and they have introduced options for online appointments and text message alerts. I understand that phone bookings will continue to be available for those who do not wish to book online.
Additionally, a new system for a nurse to visit local care homes has been introduced to further alleviate pressures on Circuit Lane Surgery phone lines. The nurse is able to perform ward rounds, administer pre-emptive medicine, and also provide a continuity of care for residents in care homes.
I am informed that patients missing appointments continues to be an issue for the surgery. OneMedical Group confirmed they have around 200 missed appointments per month, most of which happen around the 5pm rush hour. The surgery asks patients to let them know as soon as possible if they are not able to attend or no longer require their appointment, as this will make further appointments available for other patients and ensure appointments are running on time.
Future engagement with patients
At the meeting there was positive feedback about the staff at Circuit Lane Surgery, and I understand that there is a comments box at the reception desk for all patients’ queries and suggestions. Furthermore, I am informed that there is a monthly newsletter which will made available to view online, and I have suggested that this be made available at the surgery while patients wait for their appointments, as well as emailed or posted directly to patients.
Circuit Lane Surgery also has a Patient Participation Group (PPG), led by Gill Rogers. The PPG’s role is to help the surgery, local authority and the NHS communicate with its patients. If you would like to be involved in the PPG, please contact Gill Rogers via Circuitlaneppg@hotmail.com.
As I said at the meeting, I will be organising a further public meeting in the autumn when OneMedical Group will have been the provider at the surgery for a full year. I hope you found the meeting helpful and are reassured that improvements have been made. However, if you continue to have concerns about any aspect of the surgery, please do not hesitate to contact me, as I am of course happy to raise individual cases with the surgery, OneMedical Group and the CCG. You can contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alok Sharma MP”