‘Surgery turned our sick tot away’ says Leighton Buzzard dad

The mum of a sick toddler gasping for breath was turned away from Leighton Road Surgery and told to go to Milton Keynes walk-in centre, it has been claimed.

On January 30, two-year-old Harry Dunning was wheezing while suffering the effects of a flu virus.

Jon and Harry Dunning

Jon and Harry Dunning

When mum Priyam took the sick tot to the surgery’s site at Grovebury Road, she says she was told no doctors were available and to go to Milton Keynes walk-in centre.

Harry was later rushed to A&E in an ambulance.

Furious dad Jon Dunning said: “The surgery’s treatment of my family that day was absolutely disgusting.”

Mr Dunning has now formally complained to Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and written to MP Andrew Selous.

He said: “My wife called me somewhat stunned and said ‘we have been fobbed off yet again’.

“On my arrival home, I could see my son was in a bad state and could hear him struggling with his breathing as I entered my house.”

After an ambulance arrived, the distraught parents related their earlier experience at the surgery.

“The paramedic said it was totally unacceptable and a nebuliser would have helped,” said Mr Dunning. “But as time has gone on they needed to urgently take him to hospital.

“Once we were in the ambulance with my son on oxygen wired to a machine and driving at full speed with the sirens going, we realised how serious his condition was and how the surgery had totally failed us.

“I think the service was simply a total disgrace and could be putting people’s lives at risk...”

The LBO has also been contacted by Rebecca Farrell, 25, who was left without an inhaler after her GP at the surgery accidentally sent her prescription to Boots in Leicester instead of Leighton Buzzard.

She said: “I waited for over an hour on the phone, and even then there was no apology about the mistake.

“I was told to wait for another prescription, but after a few days of no news I decided to call them again.”

Miss Farrell claims she was cut off twice while waiting in the call queue and eventually succeeded in her third call. She finally received her new inhaler on February 2, over two weeks after her appointment.

She added: “I realise they were under pressure but it was very frustrating. I struggled without my inhaler during the cold weather.”

A spokesman for Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “While unable to comment on individual cases, Leighton Road Surgery is committed to providing high quality, accessible services to the residents of Leighton Buzzard and the surrounding villages.

“We are working to make it easier for patients to be seen and treated by the appropriate clinicians and GPs, which includes improving access and services for patients, and the management of telephone enquiries. We are working closely with Healthwatch and the CCG around our services and the needs of the local community.”

The CCG states it is developing a plan to:

> Increase the number of call handlers

> Review skill sets of employees and recruit new roles

> Enable patients to access online consultations and make requests for prescriptions

> Plan a set of engagement activities over the next 12 months to work with patients, the Patient Participation Group (PPG), MP Andrew Selous, Leighton Buzzard Healthwatch and other stakeholders.

The CCG spokesman added: “The new website makes booking, cancelling and changing appointments easier for patients.

“There is also a System One app available for IOS and Android which patients can download and has all the functionality of our website in terms of booking, changing or cancelling an appointment.

“The Practice has already introduced new roles to make it easier for patients to be seen and treated. These include health care assistants; phlebotomists, specialist nurses and clinical pharmacist.

“Patients are able to either book online, via the System One App, in person or via the telephone up to three weeks in advance. The introduction of new website functionality, enables the practice have trained administrators to sign post patients to the appropriate service for their needs and are also answering queries from patients online that would normally have been a telephone consultation with a doctor.

“The plan for 2019 is to establish more electronic processes that interact with patients, with an increase in the skill mix of the practice nursing team; for example, all minor illness nurses will have a Long Term Conditions / Chronic Disease management speciality and a specialist routine nurse with a LTC speciality. This approach to multi-skilling nurses ensures that the Practice is able to ‘flex’ clinical rotas depending on specific needs each week.

“Patient safety is our absolute priority and we are taking all steps to ensure it is not compromised during this time of change.”