Overturn changes made at Beccles Medical Centre that limit access to GP appointments
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We, the undersigned, request the overturning of the changes to accessing appointments at Beccles Medical Centre that begin on Monday 10th April 2017.
These new changes, particularly to only allow calls to make GP appointments from 8am to 11am, are not practical or feasible to many patients and has caused alot of upset and worry in the community.
The same number of patients attempting calls in only 3 hours, instead of the current 10.5 hour window, will make it even more difficult to get to through. It is already difficult to call up and get connected and when you are connected it is a long wait on hold before you speak to anyone at all. You are not allowed to walk in an request an appointment for a GP either.
We are not aware that this has been discussed with patients, and the view points, that we have over these reduced hours, have even been considered for all of the centres patients. Not everyone has the facility to sit by the phone and wait for a call back. Not all work places are that accommodating. People work night shifts. There are those who sleep past these 3 hours for whatever reason and, unless critically ill, have now no chance to see a GP, but only a nurse practitioner or health care assistant at best, and only if they can pass a triage from a Receptionist.
The variation between GPs opinions and diagnosis on illness is vast. When different GPs give different opinions on a patient then how can a receptionist triage correctly without the years of training and do it via a telephone conversation?
There are concerns that seriously ill patients are going to be misdiagnosed over the phone or put off by triaging by receptionists and the rigmarole of this new system... how many early stages of cancers will be missed? 1 in 2 people will get cancer in their lifetime and the symptoms can make it look like something else. And how many people bury their heads in the sand anyway... with the extra stress of ringing the surgery knowing you've got to go through all of that and not necessarily be seen, how many cases will get missed until too late?
This will have a greater impact on those vulnerable in society such as the elderly, mental health patients, small children and babies.
We all appreciate the NHS is struggling with funding but this isn't going to work and many people are going to suffer.
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