For over a year now, our local surgery has been limping sadly from one day to the next, and no, that is not an exaggeration. It is one of an increasing number of surgeries throughout north Wales (and elsewhere) where the GPs have decided, for whatever reason, to hand back the surgery to the local health board, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board which, just to add to the problem, is currently under special measures. Keith and I have only been patients at this surgery since 2014. I wanted a surgery for Dad which operated an appointment system and was physically easily accessible. Our current surgery at the time didn't fit either of these criteria, so we all three made the move and hit the jackpot.
Our new GP was fantastic, especially in comparison to our previous experiences. However, this was not to last and sadly, all four doctors in the practice decided not to carry on. That was over a year ago.
We had meetings with people from the health board who seemed determined to tell us as little as possible and lived over the border in England, so were probably not likely to suffer a similar situation anyway.
We were promised that this situation would be short term and soon there would be permanent doctors for us again.
We were told about the wonderful new system whereby anyone who rang up for an appointment would be 'asked questions' by the receptionist to determine whether they did indeed need to speak to a doctor or could be directed to a nurse practitioner. Did we really want to be disclosing our medical problems to a non-medic, especially to someone who could well be a neighbour?
Since then, there have been locums, never any more than two, as far as I can gather, and sometimes none. Appointment systems have varied, from having to ring on the day for an appointment to being able to make one a week in advance and then, without warning, back to 'on the day'. People needing ongoing monitoring, blood tests etc have been left high and dry as two nurses have gone on long term sick leave, one is on holiday and there are no replacements available.
The patient representatives organised a petition to send to the health board, asking for things to be sorted out and quickly. In the meantime, I discovered this article:
Hence my email last week to BCUHB, asking 'what the hell...?" although not in precisely those words.
I have been promised a written reply! Watch this space.