A GROUP that runs four GP practices has apologised to patients after complaints that it is extremely difficult to get an appointment.
Gosport residents using the Willow Group – which runs GP practices at the Waterside, Brune, Forton and Stoke Road medical centres,.say that they have faced many problems with the service, from dodgy phone lines to being unable to get an appointment for weeks on end.
Now Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has met a leading doctor from the group, which is part of Southern Health NHS Trust, to discuss its future and how to improve.
She says that there have been ‘teething problems’, but that she remains optimistic about its long-term future.
Ms Dinenage met Dr David Chilvers, a Willow Group GP and clinical chairman for the Fareham & Gosport CCG.
Ms Dinenage said: ‘Gosport people have had a rocky start with the Willow Group – it has been a hot topic for quite a while in the town.
‘They have had some big teething problems starting it up and I wanted to have these conversations with Willow Group and Southern Health.
‘In the long term I do think providing this sort of service is a good idea because it will create a very resilient service, but it has been a subject of real concern for residents recently.’
Dr David Chilvers said: ‘We had a very productive meeting with Caroline and we hope to build on this over the coming months to provide the best care possible for people in Gosport.
‘We discussed a number of issues at the meeting, including some of the concerns that have been raised about access and appointments and what our plans for these going forward.
‘We are continuing to address and refine these and have recently introduced a new phone system, that continues to be updated, to cope with the volume of calls we receive daily – we also offer appointments via our online e-consult system, as well as alternative options to a GP, and continue to actively recruit for GPs.
‘We recognise that not everything has run as smoothly as we had hoped and that this has caused some issues.
‘We can only apologise but please be assured we are continuously striving to improve our service. However, it was good to hear that Caroline has faith in the long-term project and understands and supports the need to work differently to address the challenges faced by health services in the local area.’