Dr John Samuel
10th March 2009
Over the years I've been to this surgery on several occasions and had unsatisfactory experiences. My comments relate to the practice as a whole and not specifically Dr J. Samuel who is the head of the practice. When I've been in with medical problems, I've found the doctors (on more than one occasion) making an incorrect diagnosis, recommending the wrong treatment, unecessarily delaying recovery and failing to see if follow-up treatment is required. Before writing these comments, I actually checked with others registered with the same surgery and they made exactly the same complaint. More generally some of the doctors are dismissive, uninterested (certain doctors are even rather rude), poor at giving adequate information about conditions and explaining to people what is happening to them. Because of this I've had to resort to figuring out my medical problems myself with the help of the internet and the pharmacy and also by paying for private medical care. I am in a position to do these things but I worry about vulnerable groups who can't act for themselves. I'm also worried for myself: so far the conditions I've been to the doctor with are not life-threatening but I'm not confident at all that they would pick up or effectively treat something more serious. As for other matters: the nurses are generally good and helpful; telephone answering times have improved but could improve still further and it not always easy to get appointments; not all the reception staff are as good as they should be and some could do with training both on patient interaction and basic medical conditions (e.g. when I was there recently, a worried mum called about her child's high temperature, the receptionist didn't know what the temperature reading meant and asked those of us standing there if we knew (!) - which we didn't - she then proceeded to advise the person to go to a pharmacy instead of coming to the surgery without establishing the seriousness of the problem). These days you get the sense that they are trying to deter people from coming in, yet when you do go there, with problems which require medical diagnosis and treatment, they fail to deal with it effectively. I've given the surgery a rating of 30% because there is infact one doctor (out of a practice of 5/6) who is very good in terms of manner/diagnosis/efficiency but unfortunately its not always possible to get an appointment with that doctor. There have also been some good locums from time to time. I feel GPs get paid very well these days and certainly owe patients much better care than this. This website is a great idea and its good to know that the government is taking it up. Infact local health authorities should be doing a lot more to solicit feedback about ongoing issues of this nature and will need to take additional steps to get inputs from vulnerable groups who can't use the internet (e.g. by having confidential feedback boxes in surgeries managed by LHA, or possibilities of confidential phone/in person feedback to LHA staff etc.).