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‘Very real possibility’ York GP surgery may close as staff ‘frequently’ abused

by Ozva Admin
‘Very real possibility’ York GP surgery may close as staff ‘frequently’ abused

There’s a “very real possibility” a York GP surgery could be shut down permanently as the industry struggles with demand that “far outstrips supply”.

Stockton on the Forest Surgery unable to reopen after closing last month due to front desk staff shortage, Mike Holmes, President of GP practice provider Nimbuscarehe told councillors.

GP support staff are frequently verbally abused and they are being tempted to other jobs with better wages and conditions, such as supermarkets.

Professor Mike Holmes from Nimbuscare. Photography: Darren Casey/DC Imaging

Elvington Medical Practice in Wheldrake, another rural area of ​​York, has not reopened since it closed in the early days of the pandemic.

Professor Holmes and Stephanie Porter were updating councilors on the pressures facing GP surgeries at a health and adult social care scrutiny committee meeting.

Head of Primary Care Ms. Porter said practices were “really feeling the strain,” with, for example, large numbers of calls from parents concerned about rising strep A cases, combined with staff illness, forcing practices to delay routine appointments.

He added: “I think we have lost track of the covid wave we are in and the exposure of our healthcare professionals to flu and covid, when they are fully vaccinated. We are seeing a continued and sustained absence of staff due to health issues.”

The average waiting time for a GP appointment in York is now around eight weeks.

Professor Holmes explained that the amount of work done by GP surgeries is often hidden in comparison to places like emergency departments.

He said the Haxby Group, which runs 11 GP practices in York, was now receiving 12,000 calls a month.

Those practices now provide nearly 90 per cent of their appointments face-to-face, although Professor Holmes said younger people were often happier with telephone appointments.

shortage of receptionists

Stockton on the Forest GP Surgery (photo: Google Maps)

At Haxby Group, there are currently only 10 front-desk employees when there are supposed to be 18.5, despite repeated recruitment efforts.

Professor Holmes said: “One of my receptionists was called a ‘worthless person’ with a couple of expletives thrown in for good measure. That’s just not acceptable and it’s driving people away.

“These people are amazing, they are so committed. They have worked tirelessly during a pandemic that put them and their families at risk.

“We are trying very hard to get services up and running with the resources that we have and there is a discrepancy and we have to be honest about it.

“That’s why the staff doesn’t work with us and why we have to make difficult decisions about surgeries.”

Committee Chairman Cllr Paul Doughty described the news that the Stockton on the Forest surgery might not reopen as “very concerning”.

Professor Holmes said: “Just because a surgery isn’t open doesn’t mean we don’t care about the patients who are there.

“We would have to carry out a consultation, we would have to carry out an impact evaluation and we have to offer alternatives.

“We are health professionals who genuinely care about the people who live in these towns.”

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