Inadequate

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I was surprised but not shocked, to see this Care Quality Commission rating chart posted on the window of my local GP surgery (National Health doctor’s office) with the 80% overall rating: Inadequate.

Responses to the question Are services Safe? and Are services Effective? achieved Inadequate. The only different responses on the whole chart were GOOD for Are Services Caring? And REQUIRES IMPROVEMENT for the question Are Services Responsive? None were regarded as OUTSTANDING.

All the ‘Patient Group’ categories achieved INADEQUATE. Not one single listing was marked otherwise.

Older People – Inadequate

People with long term conditions – Inadequate

Families, children and young people – Inadequate

Working age people (including those recently retired and students) – Inadequate

People whose circumstances may make them vulnerable – Inadequate

People experiencing poor mental health (including people with dementia) – Inadequate

I was informed by staff and patients gossiping at the pharmacy next door that if there are not improvements by this Autumn the surgery would be closed down.

There are no dentists in the area – I travel 25 miles to Bournemouth to see mine. This is the only doctors’ surgery in this densely-populated area for miles. I know there to be five good doctors of different nationalities at this surgery who are all under a lot of pressure.

The reception staff often have a difficult time sorting out priorities in a number of languages and have problems registering the transient numbers of temporary residents here from students to immigrant workers.

The system in place also means that it is near impossible to ever get to see the same doctor twice. The telephone can ring all day trying to get an appointment or even to cancel one. It can be an 8-week wait to get to see a doctor. If it is ‘urgent’ patients need to queue up in all weathers outside for at least half an hour before surgery opens in the morning to make sure they receive one of the ’emergency appointments’ allocated for that day only. This is no easy task for someone who is too ill to go to work, women holding babies crying in pain or people with crutches standing on one leg. Once open, appointment slots are usually filled within 30 minutes and none remain for anyone who can get through by telephone. Though if it is serious you can request a call-back from a doctor who may be able to give advice later in the day by phone. Only one type of emergency can be diagnosed each time – If you happen to have an earache when you have gone in about passing blood, then you have to make another appointment.

Prescriptions and hospital referrals get lost, not to mention whole files, and various bodily fluid samples get too old to be tested with neglect. It is no wonder that people end up going straight to hospital, which I must say are marvellous in Southampton with what they have to cope with.

Contrary to popular belief, the NHS not a free service either, the average working person pays around £8,500 per annum with their compulsory National Health contributions. With the rapid population increase and cuts to social services it is like being thrown back to the early 1900s.

There’s my rant for the day. So. What are doctors’ offices like where you live?

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36 thoughts on “Inadequate

  1. Just wondering which part of Southampton this is , “Southampton old lady.” (It would be nice to know your name, but I understand) ? The Woolston Surgeries are pretty good. My Mum and Dad get a good service but they are in their 90s . The Doctors seem to be careful with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your reply. I have heard that Bitterne and Woolston are quite good – there aren’t many students or Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in that area. I like to be anonymous so that it doesn’t inhibit the subjects I write about. Most readers call me Sol.

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  2. Fortunately ours are very different – but then we don’t live in a City any more. On the other hand, we were in London…….. You make a good point about the service not being free. Unfortunately the concept of service has virtually disappeared from our culture. It’s all about business.

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    • If you listen to news reports they say that there is more strain on Doctor’s surgeries. I am trying to determine if it this bad management, stress levels or bad areas. When I lived in the New Forest like you – I found the surgeries good as there it is less populated, though even then it was hard to get the same doctor twice and because of that it took a long time to diagnose my Hodgkin Lymphoma until I reached stage 4. I ended up going to A&E before it was detected. Once diagnosed though – the surgery couldn’t do enough for me. I was wondering if they have got worse. Obviously you are very happy with yours. When I lived in London I found that the surgeries varied so much according to the postcode. Did you feel that way?

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      • Most definitely the postcodes affected the surgeries; they also reflected the demography. I still believe that mercenary principles now pervade all helping professions, not necessarily those on the front line, but it is the essence of management, starting with government. I once had to deal with constant comments of a Westminster Councillor that a Charitable Settlement, the Committee of which I chaired, was running six loss-making businesses. In vain I stressed that they were services, not businesses. And that was in the 1980s when even then the sands were shifting

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  3. So, I’m wondering: are the circumstances you describe part of why the Brits voted out of the EU? That the immigrant populations utilizes a national health care system that is over-burdened already? I cannot relate to the awful circumstances that you write about. Here in the SF Bay Are, my dentist is 3 miles away and when I want to see a doctor, the appointments are usually several weeks out. My internist will see me that day for something immediate. The specialists hardest to see are dermatologists…they book months out but if one has an emergency, they will get you in that day. We are now on Medicare–some physicians do not take Medicare patients (65 years and older) because the doctors financially do not need the business.
    Perhaps the most startling statistic you presented is the cost for your almost “non-existent” health care. My husband and I pay about 800.00 per month for health care; that figure would be lower if he were to stop working.

    Do not be mislead by Barack Obama: his health care plan has been a disaster for many people.

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    • An increase in population has caused overcrowding in the health service, schools, housing etc. generally. But in time that could be sorted out if work could be spread out more evenly. Scotland could really do with immigrant workers but not many choose to go there. On the other side of scale the NHS is full of immigrant workers from all over the world who do wonderful work. It is cheaper for our government to employ them than train our own people. But in my area there has also been a vast increase in student numbers living here the last few years too. It is all too much at once in my area – we need the infrastructure to go with it all instead it seems to be cut back. It was similar to when I lived in Southern Spain. In the late 90s too many Europeans, especially Brits flooded into the sunny coastal areas so fast that the people living there found it difficult to cope with at schools and hospitals. I felt embarrassed by it all and left.

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  4. It’s just like this in South Wales where my daughters live. It’s a sad state. French health care is holding up very well. Our local small town has three doctors between two surgeries, appointments or come and wait. A dentist and a nurse bureau in the early mornings, a physiotherapist appointment only. The negative for me is that prescription drugs are handed out at every appointment.

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    • South Wales has had a huge influx of people moving there – due to cheaper housing and rents. The infrastructure to cope with it has obviously been cut back instead of growing? This might confirm what I suspect. France has always been a country that cares about the common person so no surprise that it is holding up well. Very worrying about the prescription drugs though (and I suspect overuse of anti-depressants and antibiotics?) Thankfully it is no longer like that here. Diagnosis and advise tends to be excellent when you eventually get it.

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      • You’re right in all your points. Here’s an amusing anecdote for you. A doctor in another town is very old fashioned. So much so, that when a patient sits at his desk, he/she watches his doctor chain smoke! He also prescribes paracetamol. He has no shortage of visitors. But obviously he’s a one off. 🙂

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  5. In Canada, it is similar to you situation. It is really hard to see a specialist of any kind. I have provincial coverage and coverage from my job. The doctors are paid by patient so just like your system, you can only see the doctor about one thing at a time. The doctors are like American doctors–they can order tests but are not great with diagnosing. Most people don’t go unless they can’t stand the pain.

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    • That surprises me. I had not realised that about Canada. I do think doctors here are good with their diagnosis. I think its the system where you don’t get to see the same doctor and where symptoms are not treated as a whole that is at fault.

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  6. Goodness, this is appalling. What I can’t understand is how much it differs in the same county. I couldn’t speak more highly of our small doctor’s surgery in Hampshire where we were living over the winter. Admittedly, it was in a country village, not a city practice. If you called at 8.30 you were guaranteed a same day appointment, or choose a time to suit you later in the week. You could choose which doctor to see. Or you could request a ring back for later in the day. I couldn’t rate them more highly. When you arrived for your appointment you never had to wait more than ten minutes to be seen. Sorry to hear things are not satisfactory with your surgery.

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  7. I have a good friend who lives on the coast of Wales. Recently, she went in for an infection secondary to a small injury. The doctor asked if her chart was right, as it said she was allergic to penicillin. She said she was, and he said, “There’s nothing we can do for you, then. All we have is penicillin. You’ll have to go home, or go elsewhere.”

    And, she’s been approved for cataract surgery, but unfortunately she was approved over two years ago, and is still waiting.

    Everything Cheri said above about our system is supported by my experience. I had to try 16 doctors before I could find one who would take me after I reached Medicare age. When I had my last annual exam, the laboratory work cost me $1100, give or take — reduced by 20% by cash payment. Medicare paid not a dime, and because they wouldn’t pay, my secondary, “supplemental” insurance wouldn’t pay.

    The annual well-woman exam now consists of a raft of questions, and the equivalent of holding a mirror to your nose to see if you’re still breathing. We had a wonderful health care system, which is in the process of being dismantled.

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    • I am also allergic to penicillin, I cannot understand why other antibiotics weren’t offered. And as for your experience, that’s dreadful. I remember reading a poll where American’s were asked what they were most frightened of? Obamacare came top of the list – I was surprised it wasn’t gun-shots or nuclear threats etc. Now this explains it – we all need doctors.

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  8. This sounds very familiar to Dudley: can’t pre-book (other than for a follow-up) so you have to telephone on the day. 7:59, no-one answers the phone. 8:01, a pre-recorded message tellling you that all appointments are taken. Inadequate is quite mild!

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  9. We have two near here. The one we did use was much as you have described. Impossible to get an appointment and useless when you did. We have recently changed to the surgery a little further from our house and things seem much better there. Luckily we don’t visit very often.

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