I had a meeting today with Cambridgeshire NHS to discuss the issues around the out of hours GP service.
I was given a reassurance that Whittlesey residents would not be forced to use any service they didn't want to. That is good news.
However, one of the ideas they are muting is to have callers referred to the triage system at Doddington for telephone consultation, but then for patients to have the option of going to Peterborough if they need to see someone. This is something that Queen Street Surgery have (quite rightly IMHO) already refused to do.
My own view on this, which is what I expressed, was that this is over-complicated and that patients benefit from using the service with whom they had the initial telephone conversation. As an example, on my return from France last week I had to use the out of hours service for a leg problem. When I visited the service I was dealt with by the same nurse that I had spoken to on the phone - it meant that I didn't have to go over the same story twice, it made the process much simpler.
I also have concerns about the expectation that would be put on patients in this situation and whether we could rely on the advice about the possibility of using Peterborough being put across. In effect it could lead to a default transfer to the Doddington service as a result.
Whittlesey residents should be referred to the Peterborough service automatically because it is the best and simplest option for them. I think this message was taken on board and I appreciate the NHS taking time to listen.
I have subsequently discussed this with the Practice Manager at Queen Street Surgery who is in total agreement with my views. There is a meeting of GP surgeries and the PCT coming up to discuss the issue and I am hopeful that the simple, patient focussed option will be agreed.
Can I remind residents to please pop in to the New Queen Street Surgery and sign their petition.