Concerns raised after Burnham Health Centre patient is unable to get appointment despite 'numerous' attempts

MP Joy Morrissey has raised concerns after learning that a Burnham Health Centre patient has been unable to obtain a GP appointment despite ‘numerous’ attempts.

Colin Boughton-Smith, 72, suffered a back injury after lifting a heavy sack while clearing his garden on Tuesday, June 29.

Colin said his back became worse to the point where he could ‘hardly move’ and was in agony.

The Burnham resident called Burnham Health Centre ‘numerous’ times, but was unable to get through to make an appointment.

Since then, Colin has called the centre about 50 times to seek a GP appointment, visited the surgery in-person and has also used Patient Access numerous times and could ‘never get anywhere’.

After re-sending his initial email to Burnham Health Centre explaining his situation, the centre sent him an email back apologising for the difficulty he has been having and stating it had arranged for the duty GP to call him that day.

After waiting by his phone for the call, Colin explained that he left it ‘momentarily’ to go to the bathroom but just missed the call from the doctor, who said they would try again in a ‘little while’. However, he said he has not heard from the centre since.

Colin said: “I’ve got over it now, but with no help whatsoever from the doctors.”

He added: “My main concern is for those who are suffering and cannot get the help from Burnham Health Centre that they are entitled to.”

“It's just so frustrating, but now I'm not worried about myself. I'm worried about all those people who are sitting in silence, who haven't got my tenacity and IT skills and are just not getting anywhere.”

He added: “The main thing I’m calling for is a total re-organisation of that surgery so people can be heard. If they need help in management they need to get help, not just deny that they are in crisis.”

MP Joy Morrissey has taken up the matter.

She said that while the healthcare provided at the centre is ‘excellent’, there are concerns about access to this care, specifically the difficulty in reaching the centre and securing an appointment.

She added: “I know that there are very significant pressures on our GPs at the moment, but this is not an isolated problem.

“All local surgeries and medical centres must make sure they are doing their utmost to be accessible to their patients as we come out of lockdown.

“I have raised this matter with Buckinghamshire CCG and will work with them to help alleviate the problem, as they are the appropriate authority. If any constituent has similar concerns about their own practice, I would urge them to get in touch with me."

Dr Tanvir Jamil, senior partner at Burnham Health Centre, said: “I'm sorry he's had such a difficult time and I will certainly be feeding back to our admin team.

“For confidentiality reasons I am obviously unable to comment on individual cases.”

He added that the centre’s present system is ‘mainly’ telephone slots with a doctor or nurse and they can decide if the patients needs a face-to-face consultation and if so they are usually given an appointment for that day.

“We have put in more telephone lines and have more staff to answer the phones but it is never enough,” he said.

“Things don't always go smoothly but all we are trying to do at Burnham and every GP practice in the country is do our best for our patients.”

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