Leighton Road Surgery has done a u-turn on its controversial new appointment system and has reverted back to its old method, issuing an apology to patients.
On May 29, residents were told by the surgery that in order to get an appointment, they had to first book a telephone consultation with a doctor, who would assess whether they needed to come in for a face-to-face discussion.
Patients then complained to the LBO, alleging that the new triage system had made things even worse, claiming that the phone lines were “gridlocked”, that callers got cut off whilst on hold, and that the extra “hurdle” to get an appointment just wasted time. There were reports of people waiting up to six weeks for an appointment.
However, Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group has announced that the surgery will revert back to a traditional appointment system, and issued a statement on the surgery’s behalf.
A spokeswoman said: “Since January this year, Leighton Road Surgery has experienced an increase in incidents where over 300 patients per month have failed to attend for their appointment.
“This prompted the Surgery to change its appointment system whereby each patient was given a telephone appointment with a doctor. This enabled the doctor to either treat the patient over the telephone, direct them to another appropriate service such as a pharmacy or to arrange for them to attend a face to face appointment later that day.
“The new system enabled the Surgery to treat more patients than the traditional appointment system. This appointment system is a success in other Surgeries both nationally and locally within Bedfordshire, however it has not been received well by our patients.
“The Surgery has taken on-board the feedback received and would like to apologise to those patients who felt the new system did not improve their access to healthcare.
“In light of the feedback the Surgery has decided to revert back to a more traditional appointment system whereby patients may choose to either receive a telephone call or see the doctor face to face. This may mean a reduction in the number of appointments available each day as a face to face consultation takes longer than a telephone consultation.
“Despite a national shortage of GPs the surgery has been successful in recruiting four doctors, Dr Perera has already started, Dr Rana and Dr Rauf start in October, with Dr Malhotra starting in November.”