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GP SURGERY: Hospital prescriptions row

GP SURGERY: Hospital prescriptions row

Image: LDRS

A GP surgery has been criticised for sending patients to South Bristol Community Hospital’s urgent care centre for prescriptions when the NHS is under severe strain from the pandemic.

City Councillor Chris Jackson has accused Merrywood Practice in Knowle of “fobbing people off” by referring them to the walk-in unit for same-day medication – where they then face a four-hour wait – when the overriding message is to avoid emergency departments where possible.

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire clinical commissioning group (CCG) says prescriptions are usually provided by doctor’s surgeries within 72 hours but that “systems and processes” are in place to ensure people who need them quicker can be seen that day.

Filwood ward Labour Cllr Jackson said four residents registered at the doctors’ surgery in William Budd Health Centre, Downton Road, had contacted him separately with the same issue over the last few weeks.

He said one of the constituents told him that she attended the BRI recently with an infection which required antibiotics but she would have to ask her GP practice for the prescription, so she tried phoning from 10.45am but could not get through until 11.05am.

The call handler at Merrywood told her she had missed the 11am daily prescription deadline and directed her to South Bristol Hospital’s urgent care centre as the only way to get it that day.

Cllr Jackson said the patient was told on arrival that the unit was getting a lot of people attending with prescription requests but that there would be a four-hour wait and that she would have to wait outside because they were so busy.

She decided to go home and returned later that afternoon to collect her antibiotics.

One of the other residents told Cllr Jackson that the same thing had happened to her twice in the last month and that the practice told her the earliest she could have a phone call appointment with a GP was four to five weeks.

Cllr Jackson said: “Merrywood Practice is not very good at customer care.

“When they’re advising you to go to hospital for a prescription, and the message on TV and everywhere else is only go to hospital if it’s a dire emergency, it cannot be right, especially when there is then a four-hour wait and people are having to wait outside.

“One lady was disabled and someone got a chair for her to sit on outside.

“This also happened last year and I asked the practice manager at the time why they were sending people to urgent care, and they said they had not got time to deal with it all.

“It is just not right that a GP surgery is fobbing people off and telling them to go to emergency.”

A spokesperson for the CCG, on behalf of the local health system, said: “While we are unable to comment on individual cases, we encourage anyone with a complaint about services to contact their practice directly or get in touch with our customer services team using bnssg.customerservice@nhs.net or 0800 073 0907, so that we can investigate in more detail.

“Non-urgent routine repeat prescriptions are usually provided by GP practices within 72 hours of request.

“However, when prescriptions are required more urgently, there are systems and processes in place to support patients being seen on the same day.

“People in need of urgent medical treatment can contact NHS 111 at any time to be put in touch with the right clinician or service for their needs.

“We would like to thank everyone for their patience at this time, particularly during the periods of high demand we have been experiencing in recent weeks.”

 

Words: Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporter


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