Sorry, the doctor will not see you now
Patients of a threatened Lynn medical practice say they are being treated with contempt after no doctors were available to see them for several days this week.
Operators of the Fairstead Surgery have blamed the problem on unexpected sickness during the holiday period and say they are doing all they can to resolve it.
But critics of their plans to shut the practice for good claim it is further evidence of their attitude towards it.
Patient Sue Payne said she had visited the surgery on Monday to collect a prescription for her husband, David, who has arthritis.
But, as well as the medication not being available, she discovered no GP was due to be working at the surgery until yesterday afternoon.
She said: “Four thousand patients are being left to the vagaries of Vida once more. There is no duty of care with these people.”
Former Fairstead GP Dr Mumtaz Ahmed, who worked at the practice for 35 years, said he had never seen it in such a state.
He said: “They (Vida) can do whatever they want and they’re doing it.”
He said he would like to re-register the surgery as an independent practice, if that was possible.
A Vida spokesman said yesterday: “We are currently experiencing some short term GP sickness during the summer holiday period.
“We could not have planned for this and are making every effort to find extra support from locums or by asking our part-time doctors to work extra hours.
“In Lynn we operate a triage team of doctors, nurses and paramedics, who work together.
“During times of illness we utilise this arrangement to help ensure our services are covered safely. Providing safe and effective patient care is our main priority and we thank our patients for their continued support.”
The group is also urging patients to contact 111 if they have an urgent medical need and are unsure of where to go.
But Glyn Watkins, chairman of the surgery’s patient participation group, dismissed it as a “lame” excuse.
He said: “They’re quite clearly not managing this beforehand.”
Residents have until August 30 to take part in the current consultation on the future of the surgery.
And a consultation event next Wednesday, August 14, has now been moved to the Knights Hill Hotel.
The session, from 6.30 to 9pm, was planned to take place at the Gayton Road Health Centre, but was moved because of capacity concerns.