Government's health chief called in to discuss waiting woes at under-pressure Northampton GP surgery

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has agreed to hold takls about the lengthy waiting times at St Luke's Primary Care Centre.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has agreed to hold takls about the lengthy waiting times at St Luke's Primary Care Centre.

The health secretary has agreed to hold discussions about lengthy waiting times at a Duston surgery - after a number of complaints from those unable to get an appointment.

Jeremy Hunt has agreed to meet with Northampton South MP David Mackintosh to talk about problems many are experiencing with the St Luke's Primary Care Centre in Timken Way.

The GP practice, which has an NHS Choices average review score of just 1.5 out of 5, takes in thousands of patients from around Duston, St James and Kings Heath.

But in Parliament yesterday, issues at the practice were raised as part of a debate on pressures facing UK doctors' surgeries.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Northampton South MP David Mackintosh, said: “I am aware of a number of issues around recruiting GPs in my constituency, such as at St Luke's surgery in Duston.

"Would the right honorable gentleman be willing to meet with me to discuss the issues at St Luke's?"

Mr Hunt agreed, before delivering a pre-prepared answer.

He said: "I am very happy to meet with my right honorable friend.

"He will know the the practice received £80,000 from the NHS England general practice resilience scheme, but I am aware of lots of pressures in surgeries like St Lukes."

The practice has been contacted for comment about the pressures it is facing.

However recent anonymous reviews of the surgery posted on NHS Choices show many patients' frustrations are boiling over.

One wrote: "Phoned the surgery this morning to request a GP home visit. After I finally got through (took 10 mins), I then had to listen to music for 20 mins.

"When someone finally answered my call I was immediately cut off! This meant I had to start from scratch again.

"I was not happy. As before, it took quite a while to get through."

Another spoke about the pressures being faced by the GPs there.

"When I finally got an appointment I was offered a locum who was swamped," the reviewer said. "One hour later than scheduled I finally got my 10 minute opportunity to speak."

Not all patients there rate the place poorly. One reviewer described the telephone triage service as "perfect".

"It means the doctor can often help without us having to go into the surgery and take up a valuable appointment," the patient said.