Questions about access to GP appointments in Deeside raised in the Senedd
Urgent action is needed to tackle the “continuing GP crisis” in the region a Flintshire based Senedd Member has said.
Mark Isherwood, the Conservative MS for North Wales has highlighted the problem one patient faced when trying to make an appointment at St. Mark’s Surgery in Connah’s Quay.
Concerns have been raised about the Fron Road surgery after the practice was forced to close for a day due to a lack of doctors.
Raising the matter with Health Minister Eluned Morgan during Wednesday’s meeting of the Welsh Parliament, Mr Isherwood said:
“I was copied on a patient’s email to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board last week complaining that a lack of permanent GPs at St. Mark’s Surgery in Connah’s Quay “is now causing major problems as unable to book an appointment to see a doctor”.
“They had tried to get through to the switchboard from 8 am on June 22nd, 23rd and 24th, and on each occasion were kept waiting for 45 minutes before being told that no appointments were left.”
“On the 28th June a voicemail said the surgery was closed.”
Betsi Cadawladr Univesity Health Board told Mr Ishwerwood: “The root of the problem was the unexpected sickness of the two GPs due to be physically present, and on duty, on Monday”, adding that “this was the consequence of unplanned sickness” and that “this is now subject to the intervention of the Area team to ensure the situation does not recur”.
“However, this did not address the problem identified before 28th June, and similar problems are being raised by constituents who are patients at other GP Practices.” The MS said.
Mr Isherwood asked the Health Minister: “What engagement are you now therefore having or planning with the relevant professional bodies.”
Eluned Morgan said: “We do have measures and ways of trying to interact and engage, and we will be doing that in the next few weeks, with general medical services, to make sure that we can drive up access for our patients around the whole of Wales.”
7 yrs on since the North Wales Local Medical Committee warned General Practice in North Wales was in crisis, I highlighted the problems patients in the region are still experiencing in accessing GP services & asked the Health Minister what is being done to address the problems pic.twitter.com/5MEm0AxeKn
— Mark Isherwood MS (@MarkIsherwoodMS) July 7, 2021
Alyn and Deeside MS Jack Sargeant also raised the issue of St Mark’s surgery with the Health Minister, he said “Access to GP services is an increasing issue in Alyn and Deeside, and this has been highlighted in recent weeks—twice, actually—at in Connah’s Quay, where there is clearly a shortage of doctors.
“Minister, with this in mind, will you meet with the health board to address the issue at St Mark’s and make sure they do have an adequate number of GPs?”
Health Minister Eluned Morgan responded: “I know there have been some issues in particular with surgery at Connah’s Quay in recent weeks.”
“I think some of the issues that we saw outlined there, where, actually, a message went out that the practice was actually closed, and advising patients to call an alternative number, that should not have happened.”
“The health board is very aware of that. I think we’ve got to remember, of course, that our clinicians and our services are built on the people who deliver them, and they are also susceptible to falling ill, and that’s what happened in this particular case.”
Speaking after Jack added: “I know that St Marks surgery have faced some challenges but I am seeking the Ministers intervention to ask the health board to assist the surgery in addressing them to ensure patients can get an appointment.”