The Beacon Health Group
Written by a patient
4th October 2017
This surgery used to be great when it was in the old building, it used to be a friendly, caring place where it was possible to feel that the staff cared about the patients and it reflected the ethos of our very dear NHS.
Sadly, it would appear that the values of the NHS have been forgotten or were somehow left behind (in the old building, perhaps?!) since the move to the wonderful new building. The new surgery does not seem to be a friendly place and some of the staff, especially at reception, somehow manage to give the impression that they couldn't give a toss, and frankly, one could be forgiven for thinking that they think they are doing us all a favour simply by being there. Maybe, just maybe, a gentle reminder that this is a publicly funded service (funded by the patients also) might help.
This surgery seems to be run purely on a business model rather than a patient focused model, patients are not machines, so what works in a business setting where machines are manufactured, does not necessarily work with patients who are all different with different needs and problems, some take more time than others to be seen, maybe because their problems are more complex..... I shall re-visit this point later.
Having said that, it is not immediately clear why this surgery has gone downhill in so many ways so rapidly, it appears to have lost its way, but perhaps it is time for stake holders to reflect on why and how it has got to this point.
There are difficulties in getting appointments, one has to often wait for two weeks or more to get an appointment with a doctor (even on line!) and yet the surgery is still taking new patients.
Once an appointment is finally secured, (a bit like winning the lottery!!) one feels one has finally got there, only to discover that when you arrive, the doctor disappoints you hugely by telling you that he can only see you for 10 minutes and can discuss/see you about only ONE problem, and if you have two problems, you have to decide which one of those problems is a priority and you want to see him/her about and make another appointment to discuss the other problem. This is where the business model fails!!!
Patients often have more than one problem and quite often these are or may be inter-related, it could be argued important information in the clinical decision making process to arrive at a diagnosis could be missed and could have potentially serious consequences.
I have been there myself, having waited in pain for about two weeks to get an appointment, I finally got an appointment, but when I got there, I was asked to decide which ONE of the two problems I had, I wanted to see the doctor about. To say I was shocked would be an understatement!! Has it really come to this! I was told that I could make a twenty minute appointment if I wanted to be seen about two problems, but 20 minute appointments are even rarer than the 10 minute ones!
And I had only managed to get an appointment because there was a cancellation.
I left the surgery, almost disbelieving what had just happened. This was the first time ever, that I felt, no one really cared about me as a patient, it seemed as if the "policies" were there for the benefit of staff rather than patients. In my hurry to make sure I did not take more than the allocated 10 minutes, I forgot to tell the doctor about some of the symptoms I was experiencing. I am left wondering if this is even cost effective, having to make another appointment to discuss my other problem.
Trying to get an emergency appointment is a truly humiliating experience and the lack of dignity and respect shown by the staff as one stands at reception, hoping to get an appointment is "eye-wateringly painful."
Getting through to the surgery on the phone is another problem, but I won't even go there.