Complaints about NHS services in Oldham hit new highs in 2022 as thousands waited more than 28 days for a GP appointment and patients struggled to find a dentist.
Complaints from neighbors throughout the year
Oldham residents have reported difficulties with surgeries from their GP and NHS dentists throughout the year.
In the summer, a rush of patients told the newspaper they were having trouble making an appointment with their GP at various practices, with the two surgeries at Royton being the most critical.
In one case, police officer Emma Capper said her brain tumor was misdiagnosed multiple times at the Royton and Crompton Family Practice (at the Wellness Centre).
Doctors had missed numerous opportunities to screen for cancer as she struggled to schedule a GP appointment and instead gave her vertigo medication after a phone appointment in practice.
It was only when she went to A&E that doctors discovered the cancerous tumor in her brain and rushed her into surgery.
In dentistry, patients across the county said the “system is broken” in their battle for an NHS dentist and many were forced to fork out for private treatment, or suffer pain.
By November, waiting lists for NHS dentists shot up to three years, while the NHS website listed only six practices in the district, including Middleton, that were accepting new patients, and only in urgent cases by referral.
An NHS dentist in Oldham, Dr Mohsan Ahmad, also shared with readers the pressures dental practices face, from the cost of living crisis to stagnant recruitment in what he described as a heavily funded area of healthcare. insufficient.
Dr Ahmad, a partner at the Glodwick Dental Center among three others in Greater Manchester, said dental practices are struggling to meet demand for care while fighting a crisis on multiple fronts.
His comments were echoed by Rhona Eskander, a world leader in dental care, who warned that Oldham is on the brink of a “dental time bomb”, exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis and a national shortage of NHS dentists.
Meanwhile, several reports from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have also uncovered problems in Oldham’s healthcare system with many given instructions to improve, including Royton Medical Centre.
Council leader Amanda Chadderton said in July that she was working with Royton GP’s two surgeries to “try to resolve the issues”.
“Unfortunately, this is the consequence of a Conservative government that is unconcerned about the crisis in the primary care sector and the shortage of GPs,” he told The Oldham Times before the CQC reports were published.
But the trust in charge of the Royal Oldham Hospital, Northern Care Alliance, has also been told to do better in a recent CQC inspection this month.
The inspector singled out staffing levels and the morale of “hard-working” NHS staff as areas of concern at the hospital.
Complaints from the GP and dentist in Oldham
Data from NHS Digital shows that 427 complaints were made about GPs and dentists in the area of the former NHS Oldham Clinical Commission Group in the 12 months to March this year.
While NHS Digital did not collect data on complaints made during 2019-20 amid Covid, the latest figures are higher than pre-pandemic levels (426).
Of the complaints last year, 105 (25 percent) were fully supported, meaning the medical provider was found to be wrong.
This was down from 2018-19 when 34 percent of complaints were confirmed.
Oldham dentists saw only a marginal increase, with the number of complaints rising by two per cent from 14,100 to 14,300 over the same period.
Greater Manchester Integrated Care reacts to statistics
Dr John Patterson, associate medical director in Oldham at NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care, said the problem is compounded by the enormous “pressure” GPs and dental practices are under with “high demand for appointments and challenges of recruitment”.
However, Dr. Patterson admitted that it’s “always disappointing” to hear complaints that the patient care experience “isn’t how we’d like it to be.”
Patients who wait more than two weeks for an appointment
Separate data from NHS Digital in October revealed that some GP surgeries in the district fared worse than others when it came to booking an appointment, with some having to wait for more than two weeks.
A total of 121,258 appointments were made at GP offices in the former Oldham CCG area in October, of which at least 20 per cent (24,309) were made more than a fortnight after being booked.
Of those, six percent (6,838) saw patients wait more than 28 days.
The surgeries with the highest number of patients waiting more than fifteen days were:
- Village Medical Practice (50.1% of 1,607 citations)
- CH Medical Practice (41.3 percent of 5,217 citations)
- Oak Gables Medical Practice (40.8 percent of 4,131 citations)
- Woodlands Medical Practice (35 percent of 6,057 citations)
- Springfield House (34.8 percent of 3,448 citations)
At the other end of the scale was:
- Medlock Medical Practice (3.7 percent of 4,397 citations)
- Royton Medical Center (4.3 percent of 4,148 appointments)
- Kapur Family Care (6.2 percent of 4,565 citations)
- Lindley House Health Center (6.8 percent of 1,479 appointments)
- Chadderton Medical Practice (8.7 percent of 2,503 citations)
The statistics come as the government announced a new ambition to see patients access a GP appointment within two weeks.
But NHS Digital said workloads can be affected by a number of factors, including patient demographics, how depressed the area is and the number of care homes the surgery offers its services to.
Oldham patients asked for “patience and understanding”
Dr. Patterson said, “Our practices are working hard to provide quality care for their patients.
“Those who need urgent care are being prioritized, which unfortunately means some patients may have a longer wait.
“We ask for the public’s patience and understanding when this happens, and rest assured that we are doing everything we can to deal with it as soon as possible.”
NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care also said that every complaint it receives is an “opportunity to learn and improve”.
“I’m sure my primary care colleagues will reflect on the complaint issues and results to further improve patient care experiences,” added Dr. Patterson.
NHS England complaints in Oldham
Separate figures on complaints made only to NHS England and the commissioner, which do not include complaints made directly to providers, show that there were 76 GP complaints and seven dental complaints in the district from April 2020 to March 2020. 2021.
Under the NHS Complaints Regulations, a complaint can be made directly to the GP or dental office, or to the Chief Commissioner, NHS England.
Figures do not include results.
Of those complaints about GPs to the NHS in England, the most pressing reason concerned issues related to clinical care (33 complaints), followed by Covid-19 (13), communication (8) and prescriptions (5). in 2020-21.
Access to services, removal from practice listing, medical records, appointments, and staff attitude also received two or more complaints.
For its part, a complaint was filed for a dispensing error and another for the facilities of the GP’s office.
In dentistry, three complaints were filed for staff attitude, two for access to services and two for clinical care.
GP Patient Survey 2022
Finally, the 2022 GP Patient Survey revealed that Kapur Family Care had the lowest rating from patients, with an average rating of ‘good’ of just 37%, while St Mary’s Medical Center came in at the top with an overall good rating of 88%.
The news prompted Oldham leaders to commit to improving local GP services, and a new £10m diagnostic center has opened its doors to patients towards the end of December.
The new center, which is open seven days a week from 8:00am to 8:00pm in Salmonfields, is set to address waiting lists and Covid backlogs by helping more than 30,000 patients a year.