"Maintaining high standards."

About: Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

(as the patient),

My wife and I have been patients of this practice since 1971, when we were added to the list of Dr. Ian K. who always wore a freshly laundered white coat in his consulting room. We haven't seen another white coat being worn since he retired! The most professional looking members of staff now are the practice nurses.

We have in recent years used the practice website to order repeat prescriptions with varying degrees of success, collecting medication from Boots in Tiverton. On many occasions no order had been received from the surgery, and we understand that this is a problem experienced by a number of patients over a considerable time. Some to whom we talked no longer use the service.

Last week, my wife sought advice about a pain in the back of her head and right around her neck. None of the partners were available and she was given an appointment with one of the associate doctors. Whilst sitting in one of the waiting areas, we saw an elderly lady patient and her carer, having been summoned, standing ready to be guided to a consulting room by a casually dressed woman, who stood in front of them and held a conversation with another lady, apparently about the patient. On their way out, the carer remarked to us that the experience 'didn't give her much confidence'!

We then realised that the casual one was the doctor we were to see! Mt wife was given a very impersonal examination and was prescribed a pain relieving cream that could have been bought across any pharmacy counter and a tablet form of Vallium, being warned that these might make her feel sleepy! We didn't ask for any tablets and don't altogether disagree with the Vallium, as I had a Vallium drip when a dislocated shoulder of mine was relocated in Brussels some years ago. However, discussing a patient in a public area is not my idea of professionalism!

The CQC have inspected the practice and awarded it an "Outstanding" mark - I wonder what standards are like in practices awarded much lower grades!    

I confess to having used this as an opportunity to deplore the demise of Family Doctors and their replacement with overstretched NHS employees.

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