Surgery allays patient fears over practice closure
- Credit: Archant
A Suffolk GP has allayed fears that changes at a doctor’s surgery in the county has left patients concerned about how to access services.
Patients at the Aldeburgh Surgery were left concerned and confused after being told that they would have to go to Orford if they needed a face to face appointment, following new coronavirus measures.
The surgery joined the Peninsula Practice group, which consists of sites at Aldebrugh, Alderton, Orford and Hollesley, earlier this year.
Currently, no work is being carried out at Hollesley, but at Aldeburgh and Alderton staff are carrying out non face-to-face work including telephone consultations with patients.
All face to face appointments are being held at Orford which the surgery said was to minimise footfall and protect staff and patients.
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However, patients in Aldeburgh are concerned that rather than minimise the risk for patients, they are making it harder for those who are elderly or who do not have transport to get to Orford if necessary while others are concerned that the surgery will close altogether.
One Aldeburgh resident said that changes at the practices had not been communicated well to patients, when they were changed at the start of the pandemic.
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“I am a single mum with no vehicle and no family,” said the resident.
“If I were to have to go to the surgery I wouldn’t know what to do.”
Staff from the surgery have now clarified the situation at the surgery and explained why decisions were made.
“We are doing everything we can not to compromise anybody’s clinical care,” said senior partner, Dr Lindsey Crockett.
“The priority is patient safety.”
Dr Crockett said the decision had been made to move to Orford as the site lay in the middle of the areas it served.
She said that anyone who was struggling with access should get in touch with the surgery to see what could be done, including using Red Cross transport to Orford.
Dr Crockett also acknowledged that the changes at the practices had particularly affected residents in Aldeburgh and said she was concerned that some residents there believed the surgery was closing.
“Aldeburgh patients had not had a chance to become used to Peninsula Practice delivering services,” said Dr Crockett.
“The word ‘closure’ to them might mean they think it’s closing down.”
Patients also raised concerns that they had been told that they should go to the Landseer Road practice in Ipswich if they wanted a blood test.
Dr Crockett confirmed that this was advice the surgery was offering as they would not be carrying out drive thru testing at the current time.
She acknowledged the inconvenience of the drive but said that other conditions needed to be focused on in the meantime, like COPD, diabetes and patients with high blood pressure.
“We need to get our nurses doing things they are skilled to do,” said Dr Crockett.
Those who cannot go to Ipswich can be tested in Orford if absolutely necessary.
Dr Crockett said it was important that patients stayed in touch with them if they were concerned about their health.
“Don’t be worried. Speak to us. We will give you the right information,” said Dr Crockett.
“Things are evolving all the time and we are keeping abreast of the national guidance with CCG support.”