Bosses in pledge to look at Wigan GP surgery worries

A major Wigan GP surgery is losing experienced staff amid plummeting morale and declining standards of care, a whistleblower has claimed.

Friday, 21st December 2018, 11:31 am
Updated Friday, 21st December 2018, 12:38 pm
Claire House
Claire House

The shocking claims have been made about Claire House in Ince, run by SSP.

Other news: Woman's mission to help the lonely in Wigan this ChristmasThe whistleblower expressed concern that Ince would not have enough doctors for the area’s residents and said that at times it was difficult to get appointments, with patients being diverted to a hub service.

Health bosses in the borough described the allegations as “serious” and promised to raise them with the provider, which took over from Intrahealth running the practice earlier this year.

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However, the authorities said they were not aware of any problems at the Phoenix Way health centre and also urged patients not to be alarmed if they were asked to use other NHS services when ringing their practices.

The whistleblower said: “Since SSP took over things have just got worse at Claire House.

“There is something seriously wrong at the surgery. Exceptionally good doctors are prepared to quit because they just can’t take it any more.

“It’s ridiculous. Soon we will have no doctors at all. It looks as though the experienced staff are all starting to jump ship.

“Ringing the reception is a nightmare. If you’re ill they will say on the phone to go to the hub or if it’s really bad to go to hospital. There’s also just the one phone for all the hundreds of patients they’ve got.

“It’s got totally out of control since this new company took over.”

SSP also runs the Platt Bridge Medical Centre as well as surgeries on Rivington Way and in Higher Ince.

Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said patients should not be afraid to speak out if they are worried about healthcare in the borough but also reassured patients about the extended-hours services.

Dr Tim Dalton, local GP and Wigan Borough CCG chair, said: “SSP took over the running of the Intrahealth practice in Claire House, Ince, in August. This followed a public consultation and a nationally approved procurement process.

“Throughout the transition, we worked closely with SSP to support the continued smooth running of the Claire House GP Practice.

“We continue to hold regular contractor meetings with them to discuss matters like staffing rotas, use of locums, service delivery and complaints and compliments.

“We are not aware of any issues at Claire House GP Practice, with either appointments or doctors and nurses leaving, and the practice patient list size continues to grow.

“However, these are serious concerns that have been raised and we will discuss them with SSP.

“I would always advise patients to raise concerns and complaints with the practice as soon as possible, and then if they don’t feel they are being listened to, to speak to ourselves or NHS England.

“Finally, patients should not be worried if they are being told to ring the GP Extended Hours hub for same-day appointments.

“If a practice’s appointments are fully booked for that day, we ask all our practices to give patients the hub number as they may be able to get an appointment that evening with a local GP.

“This is part of our drive to offer more patients access to same-day appointments.”

The CCG’s complaints team can be contacted on 01942 482711.