Patients voice anger at ‘extremely concerning’ Fareham GP group Sovereign at public meeting

PATIENTS of a troubled GP practice dubbed themselves ‘prisoners’ as they vented their frustrations at a public meeting.
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Dozen of people from the Facebook group Patients of Highlands, Jubilee and Whiteley Surgeries gathered in the main hall of Fareham Academy on Saturday. The three surgeries came together as Sovereign Health Partnership in 2017.

Having previously described the service across the surgeries as ‘shambolic’, patient representatives recently addressed mounting complaints with the surgeries’ management.

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They raised issues surrounding long telephone waiting times and being cut off while on hold, severe difficulties in gaining face-to-face appointments, issues and delays in receiving prescriptions and reception staff giving out medical advice.

Members of the Facebook group Patients of Highlands, Jubilee and Whiteley Surgeries gathered in the main hall of Fareham Academy, to voice at the ‘extremely concerning’ practices of Fareham GP group Sovereign Health Partnership.Members of the Facebook group Patients of Highlands, Jubilee and Whiteley Surgeries gathered in the main hall of Fareham Academy, to voice at the ‘extremely concerning’ practices of Fareham GP group Sovereign Health Partnership.
Members of the Facebook group Patients of Highlands, Jubilee and Whiteley Surgeries gathered in the main hall of Fareham Academy, to voice at the ‘extremely concerning’ practices of Fareham GP group Sovereign Health Partnership.

Joe Waggott, an administrator for the patients’ Facebook group led the public meeting and expressed that patient representatives had felt ‘patronised’ and ‘fobbed off’ during these meetings.

Mr Waggott said: ‘The services that Sovereign Health Partnership provides are below standard and need to be improved to meet current regulatory standards. Ladies and gentlemen, we now need to start making some noise. We now need to start standing up saying, these are our rights, get it sorted out.

He added: ‘I have dug deep, and we have information that we won’t disclose right now, but is extremely concerning. This is not about patients, this is about profit.’

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The meeting also heard residents challenge the results of a recent CQC report with rated the surgeries as ‘requiring improvement’.

Tracy Inyang said: ‘What was interesting from the report was there were fundamental breaches of their contract [Sovereign] had broken. What consequences are there for what are legal requirements? There doesn’t seem to be any. At what point do the powers that be deem Sovereign incompetent?’

‘We’re prisoners of Sovereign,’ another resident added.

Nicky Silver, from Whiteley, was asked by the practice to complete and online assessment for an annual check-up, but after Covid-19 worsened her condition, she insisted on a face-to-face appointment.

She said: ‘Eventually, very reluctantly they let me go in for my asthma review. The doctor did all kinds of tests that she could not have possibly done if I hadn’t been there in person.

‘As a result of those tests my medication was completely changed and the situation resolved. If I’d seen her over the phone that would not have happened.’

No one from Sovereign attended the meeting.