Northampton GP: ‘NHS is letting my patients down daily’

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A doctor at a Northampton GP surgery says the NHS is letting down patients by failing to invest in his practice which he says is “unfit for purpose”.

Dr Gareth Williams, of the 10,000-patient Park Avenue Surgery, in Abington, said his staff were struggling to cope with demand, but the NHS was deaf to his appeals for improvements.

He said: “Every day we continue to work in GP premises that are unfit for purpose. We are letting our patients down as we are unable to offer all the services they require.

“We desperately want to improve our premises to provide our patients with the first-class facilities and additional service they need and deserve, but we can only do this with sufficient support from NHS England which 
they are currently failing to give.”

Among the issues, Dr Williams claims, are:

l Key staff at NHS England are part-time and “seem uncertain as to whether they can make decisions on premises.”

l Half of the GP consulting rooms are unreachable for disabled patients.

l Confidentiality is “at risk” and the sound-proofing is so bad staff often have to play loud music in the waiting areas so that consultations are not overheard.

l The pratice manager and secretary work out of a temporary building.

l Not enough space in treatment rooms for someone to assist a nurse.

Dr Williams said: “This means our patients are waiting unnecessarily for an appointment and are quite rightly frustrated at the delay getting the treatment they need. It seems absolute madness that we’ve dedicated and highly-qualified doctors, nurses and staff eager to care for people, but we’re constantly hindered by a building that’s not fit for purpose.”

An NHS England spokesman said: ““While the NHS budget has been protected, which is welcome, finding more money in one area will inevitably mean reductions elsewhere.”