Doctor responds to surgery article

By Dr R A Stringer

I wish to offer a factual response to your recent article ‘Surgeries group to be targeted with action’, featured in The Correspondent’s October edition.

I am writing as a former partner of Ashton Medical Group, and also of Chapel Street Medical Centre, which was one of the three surgeries which had recently merged, and feel compelled to do so in view of the disappointment and anger this has caused some of my former staff and myself, especially the comments “There were problems [prior to merging] in terms of access. They didn’t score highly.”

The facts are that Chapel Street Medical Centre was rated by its patients in terms of telephone access, making an appointment, helpfulness of receptionists and overall experience at 68-77 per cent in July 2016, below the local average of 69-85 per cent.

This had risen to 79-96 per cent by July 2018 at the time of the merger, well above the local average of 64-87 per cent, through the hard work, dedication and organisation of all of the staff, and I would not like any members of the public to be misled, especially in view of the efforts of these exceptional, former colleagues.

I would also agree with Jess Williams’ comment that “It [merging] was the right thing to do,” especially having personally looked into the various options available to ensure that the provision of health care locally remains as high as possible, despite the current crisis of recruiting and retaining GPs.

Furthermore, I feel confident that my former colleagues at Ashton Medical Group will be able to provide a good standard of health care for their patients in the future.

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