Problems over the Christmas Period

The surgery have asked that we provide patients with the following explanation:


Crawley Down patients

In response to recent criticism directed at the practice from social media during the Christmas period.  I felt that it would be only right to respond to some of the comments made.

2017 has seen an increase in our patient list size up a further 2%. We have also seen a reduction in the number of clinicians, with one doctor on maternity leave and another starting maternity in December, plus a full time salaried GP vacancy still to be filled.  This has left a void in the number of GP appointments available, which have been filled, as best as we can by locums.

Against this are the challenges of the day-to-day running of the practice.  We wish to thank our staff for their hard work and their willingness to work additional hours to cover staff sickness and family bereavement for each other.  They have worked above and beyond their contractual duty, themselves attending work when they should be either off sick or on holiday or on a non-working day, to enable us to continue to provide a service which our patients can access.

In particular over the Christmas period staff returned on 27th December to find not only the heating system not working (now thankfully fixed), but the software packages which support our clinical system  unable to synchronise.  Despite all this the staff sat in their coats to keep warm and tried their best to deal with the expected high call volumes.  The level of incoming calls was excessive and patients had to wait longer than usual, this resulted in criticism at the receptionists and suggestions that staff were not answering the phones but having a cup of tea/chatting.

It is criticism such as this which does little to improve staff morale and makes the recruitment and retention of staff challenging at a time when the NHS has never seen such pressures.  The demand on the practice has been excessive with many patients suffering from the symptoms of flu and gastroenteritis.

We wish to thank those patients who have been patient, understanding and supportive of us over a very challenging year and for all the gifts sent to the practice over the Christmas.  Wishing you all a very healthy and prosperous 2018.

The Practice Manager

4 comments to Problems over the Christmas Period

  • MIke Ford

    I personally feel that this sort of complaint, by I presume
    an unnamed patient be treated with the contempt it deserves and worthy of a reply.

    • Peter Dodds

      We, at the ‘Friends Of’, were unaware of the comments and so far haven’t been able to source them. However, we would urge anyone who wants to express a view to use the website so that we can follow up on their behalf and get back with a response either from ourselves or the surgery.

  • Eunice & Paul Meeus

    Is it time to close the books to new patients, a hard decision I know but there must be a limit. My thanks to all at The Health Centre I appreciate it can’t be easy for them or for us.

    • Peter Dodds

      This is an often discussed topic at our meetings both at the CPRG (i.e. a CCG meeting forum) and with the surgery.

      There are two types of action which can be taken. 1) Closing the list 2) Capping the list.

      1) Closing the list is the most draconian of measures available and at the moment none of the 23 surgeries in our CCG (Horsham and Mid Sussex) have their lists closed. To do so involves an application to NHS England which involves very stringent tests before they will allow it to happen but it does have the effect of no more patients being registered with the surgery.
      2) Capping a list is easier to achieve but again it needs the approval of NHS England. However, its effect in controlling new patients being registered with the surgery is somewhat redundant because all that happens is that any new patient is simply allocated to one of the 4 surgeries in our (East Grinstead) area by NHS England.

      For this reason our surgery is not in favour of going down the capping route.