"Availability Nightmare"

About: Fairmore Medical Practice

(as a relative),

My partner has been recently diagnosed with lung cancer and part of his treatment entails having his bloods taken regularly in order to ascertain that "all is well enough" in order to continue with the chemotherapy treatment plan. In addition, there were other aggravations in accessing a GP in order to be able to approve his sick pay. 

Theoretically, these blood samples should be being accommodated via his GP surgery, however, getting an appointment is bordering on impossible. The Fairmore medical group has three sites and one can almost guarantee that, on the vague off chance there is an appointment, it will be at one of the two sites that are miles away and an unrealistic for him to be able to attend. 

While we can appreciate the overriding logistics of having to try and run a surgery and manage a budget, one would hope that a patient with a terminal illness could be more efficiently accommodated. Moreover, it is becoming increasingly apparent that there is seldom a GP on site and the practice appears to be something of a skeleton service. 

No disrespect to any of the individual members of the team working at Fairmore, but the overall service just is not good enough and something has to give. 


Response from Stephanie Driver, Practice Manager, Fairmore Medical Practice We have made a change

Dear Patient,

I must firstly offer my sincere apologies for the way you feel. We are mindful that appointments are limited and are constantly seeking ways to ensure that we offer a service matched to demand. As a service we are currently recruiting for a number of posts in the organisation, including a GP, and Advanced nurse Practitioner and Practice Nurse.

As with many other primary care services, recruitment takes time and there is a shortage of suitable candidates, we do, however continue with our efforts. I am pleased to say that in order to compensate for this, we have booked an additional Locum Practice Nurse to join our team from 7th January and we have commissioned an additional 3 hours of phlebotomy (bloods) appointments per week through East Lancashire Hospitals Trust (one of our Parent Organisations).

Our Healthcare Assistant is also increasing her hours by 5 per week for the foreseeable future, starting in December. I hope this gives you some reassurance that we are working to meet patient demand and we do listen to our patients feedback and take appropriate action. If you would like to telephone the practice, we will be happy to offer you blood appointments as soon as possible.

Thank you.

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Update posted by BrambleMarch (a relative)

Thank you for your response,

I am pleased to say my partners most recent appointment needs were met by our surgery and that the team were, as always, very helpful.

It is unfortunate that we felt we had to raise this issue as we didn't want it to come across as though there was any dissatisfaction with staff, but we did need to highlight that being offered appointments at the other two "sister sites" is not possible due to personal circumstances and so, when we request an appointment it is solely in the hope of an appointment within the surgery that we registered with, as opposed to the two other sites that are indirectly available to us in other boroughs.

We do have reassurances in place from the hospital staff, however, that bloods appointments will be met there when there is no availability within our own surgery.

Thank you again for your detailed response.