Fareham GP group Sovereign sees 1,700-strong petition call for changes with one family struck by cancer 'hugely let down' by their surgery

HUGE delays for appointments and concerns about standards at a network of GP surgeries in Fareham has led to more than 1,700 people signing a petition demanding better services, as one surgery has to apologise over a patient’s cancer diagnosis.
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The Change.org petition has called for improvements over patients’ prescriptions and reviews being ‘missed’ at the three surgeries – Highlands, Whiteley, and Jubilee – in the Sovereign Health Partnership.

Residents have previously decried the service as becoming ‘shambolic’, with a public health meeting earlier this year hearing a string of complaints about long telephone waiting time and severe difficulties in seeing a GP.

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Patients have begun to speak up about their experiences, with Jubilee practice apologising to one family who felt ‘hugely let down’ by the surgery’s handling of a beloved husband and step-father’s cancer diagnosis.

The partnership includes Highlands GP Practice (pictured), The Whiteley Surgery and Jubilee Surgery, in Titchfield.The partnership includes Highlands GP Practice (pictured), The Whiteley Surgery and Jubilee Surgery, in Titchfield.
The partnership includes Highlands GP Practice (pictured), The Whiteley Surgery and Jubilee Surgery, in Titchfield.

Civil servant Graham Large, 67, went to the practice over concerns about a mark on his head also during August of last year, which led to blood tests raising serious concerns about his health – but the family were left waiting more than three weeks and had to chase the surgery to find out what would happen next

Further blood tests and an ultrasound were carried out a week after the family’s made contact again, revealing that Graham was suffering from metastatic cancer, which led to his death on Friday November 12, 2021.

Graham’s wife Caroline said that initial concerns during e-consultations and face to face appointments were not properly addressed, while her husband ‘was obviously dying in front of (her) eyes’.

Caroline said: ‘It was all too little, too late.

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‘I feel hugely let down by the practice. My husband had been with this practice and its predecessor his whole life. I feel hugely let down – and angry.

‘It feels like we lost what time we could have had. There were numerous missed opportunities.’

She added: ‘What is happening to all the people who don’t have a voice and won’t leave until something gets sorted?’

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A spokeswoman from the surgery has issued an apology to Caroline, saying that she was ‘very sorry that the care at the end of Mr Large’s life was not as I would have expected or you would have wanted’.

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A public meeting at the end of May saw long queues of people looking to share their experiences directly with staff at Sovereign, which has taken on more staff and is ‘working hard to address the feedback, according to Dr Tom Bertram, clinical director and GP partner at the healthcare partnership.

He said: ‘We would like to thank our patients and our community for all their feedback which we take very seriously.

‘While we can’t comment on individual cases, we have been engaging with our community and were delighted to see more than 700 people attend our recent event at the Holiday Inn in May.

‘We will continue to listen to our patients and involve our community in decisions about the way in which their care is delivered.’