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"Sub-standard service"

About: St Austell Health Group

(as a relative),

My father has a history of skin cancer - in April this year he had a skin cancer removed from his scalp and was discharged back to the care of his GP Practice for dressings with instructions that if any further lesions appeared or the wound did not heal he should be referred back to the Dermatology clinic immediately rather than wait for his routine 6 month follow up. The wound is still needing be be dressed weekly and a new lesion has appeared on his scalp. My father asked the Practice Nurses several times whether he needed to see the GP to be referred back to Dermatology and was repeatedly told that everything looks OK.

This week my father attended for his dressing and then asked at the practice whether he could make an appointment to see a GP - he was not asking for an appointment that day but just wanted the next available appointment. My father is elderly and has marked hearing loss so prefers to make appointments face to face as he struggles with communicating on the phone. He was informed at reception that he could not make an appointment in the surgery but had to phone to make an appointment. My father phoned this morning at 10: 10 to make an appointment, was asked to give details of why he needed to make an appointment and then was informed that a GP would phone him back today, when my father asked at what approximate  time the GP would call he was informed that it would be when the GP had 'finished seeing patients'. My father has remained in the house all day waiting for a phone call from the GP which has never come. He will now have to wait until Monday and have to phone back again and presumeably go through the whole process again. I feel, as does my father, that this is unacceptably poor service from the GP practice. Whilst we understand that there may have been workload pressures for the GP would it have been too complicated to ask someone to ring my father back to explain what was going on?

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Response from Anita McMillan, Business Support Manager, St Austell Health Group 3 months ago
Anita McMillan
Business Support Manager,
St Austell Health Group
Submitted on 20/08/2021 at 12:51
Published on Care Opinion at 13:11

Dear Zannadee,

Thank you for your feedback.

I am sorry to hear that your father has been so unwell, and that there has clearly been some miscommunication regarding our appointment system.

Our appointment system operates on a triage basis, with every request being sent to a clinician. If a patient has an urgent medical issue that needs to be reviewed on the same day, the request is triaged by the duty doctors at our urgent care centre. If the medical issue is non-urgent, or ongoing, then the request is sent to the patient's usual GP. This allows the patient to receive continuity of care with the same doctor overseeing their treatment.

During the lockdown periods of the pandemic we have encouraged patients to telephone us rather than visit our sites, but patients can now ask at our reception desks regarding appointment requests.

If you father finds telephone calls difficult, he can certainly ask the receptionist to make a note of this and to ask the doctor for a face to face appointment if possible. We do try to limit the amount of patients coming to our sites due to Covid, but if your father is already visiting for a dressing appointment it would make sense to book him another appointment to coincide with this.

Once reception have been contacted by a patient, they will add the patient's name to the doctor's request list. There is no need for the patient to call in again, unless their symptoms change or worsen. The surgery will make contact within a few days. This may be the doctor to have a telephone consultation, or it may be reception to arrange a face to face appointment.

If the patient misses our call, we will try again. Whilst we cannot guarantee the time of the call, we can take a note of the most suitable times for the patient.

I hope that by the time you recieve this response your father should have had contact from his GP. Please do not hesitate to contact me at if any further assistance is required.

Kind regards,


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