The Bromley Common Practice
Written by a carer
16th March 2020
I would first like to say this complaint is not concerning any of doctors or nurses at the practice, my complaint is to reception staff, especially those who where seen in surgery today on the 16th March around 12:30 Before I had made my request to the staff another member of the public told me that they had been unhelpful to her, it was then apparent why this was said.
I came to the surgery as I was unable to get through to any members of reception via the phone line although I had been calling continuously for a number of days in regards to the collection of a fit note and blood pressure medication for my mother, I was asked by one lady what it was I was there for, I told her I needed a fit note and medication for my mother, this lady acknowledged what I said but then did nothing, as soon after someone else came to me and asked me again what it was I was waiting for, the previous lady then butted in and explained to the staff member what it was I needed which made it clear that she had made no effort to start the process of my request,
I was told that I was unable to enter the practice further than the entry doors and had to communicate by shouting across the room to the desk, I understand the reasons for this because of the corona virus however the level of help I received was poor and dismissive the virus is no excuse for this. I was then told that I could not collect a fit note as the staff members where unable to pass over anything in person and this would be sent via post if requested online, or if I phoned in which I said was impossible as nobody was answering the phone, this seemed extremely ridiculous as they where at one point standing directly in-front of me which I'm sure if either of us had the virus would have transmitted at this point with or without the transfer of a paper fit note, also between us talking briefly before returning to her desk a food delivery man interrupted us handing over a bag, if the protocol for no contact was this extreme then why where staff members accepting food deliveries but unable to hand over a piece of paper, this seemed unnecessary as lunch could have been prepared at home, the rules regarding the corona virus seem incredibly blurred and purely just beneficial for workers to do the least amount of work possible as they are hardly communicating and not answering any phone calls whatsoever, hence why I had to go to the surgery in person.
I am confused as to how nobody is able to answer the phone line when the surgery is completely empty with no patients at all and at least 4 seen at reception desk.
Finally I then asked when my mum could receive her blood pressure tablets as she is already 1 week without taking any as she has ran out after contacting the doctors numerous times regarding this and told repeatedly that she had some already and was unable to get anymore until April, the lady at reception also belittled the severity of the situation saying ' she only takes one tablet' at which point I corrected her and said ' no she takes 2 a day, 1 in the morning and 1 at night, (ramipril and amlodipine ) this was very rude and unacceptable as she is not a doctor and does not know the severity of the situation or my mothers medical history, moreover this was incorrect information which I later confirmed with the boots pharmacy as they informed my sister that this is a common occurrence with the practice and that they in-fact where aware that on the 4th march she was entitled to collect her tablets but had been misinformed by the practice that she would have to wait until April.
If I had not made further effort to find out about this after my mum had admitted to me that she was not feeling well as she hadn't been given her medication my mother would have been without medication for over a month because of the errors made by reception staff, as a result she has not been able to take any tablets for a whole week which has been very concerning as my mother lost the sight in her eye previously due to high blood pressure, this has caused my mum immense stress and is the reason why I went to the surgery in person to resolve this for her on her behalf as well as my sister calling the boot pharmacy, the members of staff where rude and just kept telling me ' your must must have them because she's been given enough we can't give her anymore" , this is incredibly unhelpful especially later confirming that this was infant incorrect and a mistake made by the reception, also this has happened last year however was resolved in a quicker time frame hence why my mother has been so stressed and anxious.
Luckily boots where able to dispense the tablets today as rightfully so, no thanks to the Bromley Common practice inadequate staff members.
This is very poor service and is a shame because the doctors are great.
I hope that this does not happen again as this is detrimental to my mothers health and other patients who may have already experienced similar issues.
18th March 2020
Response from The Bromley Common Practice
Firstly let me say how sorry I am for the service you received earlier this week. I do understand your frustrations.
We are dealing with a public health crisis which is evolving day by day and doing our best to be flexible and alter our processes in line with the advice we are receiving, which is being updated daily. I'm sorry if we havent adequately looked after your needs. or that of your mother, at the same time.
We are currently running a 'triage first' service and dealing with as much as we can by phone/video/eConsultation in order to reduce the risk of infection for our clinicians, staff and patients. As a result, our reception and admin teams have been incredibly busy altering our appointment templates, contacting patients who have prebooked appointments and dealing with a big increase in calls from concerned patients. Our telephone lines are much more busy than usual as our clinicians are contacting so many patients by phone, where they would usually see them face-face.
I would encourage all patients with queries to please use our eConsultation service, which is available via our website. You do not need any special log ins or a password to use this service. We are commited to respond to these by the end of the following day. This will avoid patients from being stuck on hold or getting an engaged tone when trying to contact us. The GP can reply online or call you back if they need to speak to you. Please do not come to the practice in person.
Please request any prescriptions using Online Access (available via our website), by asking your chemist to order on your behalf, or by email (TBCP@nhs.net). Please ensure you tell us which chemist to send your prescription to, as you will be unable to collect paper prescriptions from the practice. Let me reasssure you that our GPs can work from home should the need arise and, despite the current increase in demand, we will get your presciptions issued, even in the event of a 'lockdown' scenario.
Once again I'm sorry you had a poor experience and I hope that this response shows the measures we are putting in place to make things easier for all parties as we navigate this difficult time.