Doctor’s surgery denies having only one GP

Beccles Health Campus.Picture: Nick Butcher

Beccles Health Campus.Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A medical surgery has moved to quash comments made on social media which claimed it only had one GP available to treat patients.

Beccles Health Campus.Picture: Nick Butcher

Beccles Health Campus.Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Beccles Medical Centre, in St Mary's Road, has been experiencing ongoing staffing issues since it lost nine GPs last year.

Comments circulating on social media suggested patients attempting to make appointments on Friday, January 5, were subjected to lengthy waiting times due to there being only one GP on site.

However while the surgery admits there have been long waiting times, it points to the general strain on NHS services nationwide as the main cause of the delays.

A spokesman for Beccles Medical Centre said: 'We had four doctors present in the surgery on Friday, as well as our multi-disciplinary clinical team of experienced health professionals, which includes advanced nurse practitioners, physiotherapists, and paramedics.

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'However, like most of the NHS we were under severe pressure last week with large numbers of very sick and frail patients needing the attention of our clinicians, which meant we had to concentrate on the more clinically urgent cases which may have led to a longer than normal wait for routine enquiries.'

She added: 'We are continuing to recruit into vacant posts and are keeping our patients informed of our progress.'

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In 2017 four GPs retired from the surgery, with an additional four resigning later in the year.

Another GP was forced to take long-term sick leave.

The past few months has seen the arrival of an emergency care practitioner and a long-term locum doctor to help deal with patient demand.

The surgery is currently operating with the equivalent of five and a half full-time GPs, which still leaves it one full-time GP short of a complete team.

The centre previously blamed 'increasing workload pressure' and 'diminishing resources' as contributing factors to its staff shortage.

And back in December, the surgery unveiled a new system with receptionists trained as 'care navigators' to signpost patients to the most appropriate member of staff for their issue. It aims to make the best use of GPs' time and also saw the arrival of new clinical staff including nurse practitioners, emergency care practitioners and therapists.

Beccles Medical Centre said it will continue to work with NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to recruit new GPs to the surgery.

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