As promised I have had a meeting with Scott Bennett the Practice Manager for the Veor Surgery ( Churchfield) here in Camelford. Whilst it would have been inappropriate to discuss individual medical problems with him we did talk about general issues.
There is a real problem with space availability within the current building ie the first floor is out of bounds to patients due to the Coronavirus risks and guidelines. This means that the pre existing problem of capacity has become worse. In the short term a plan has been agreed with the Town Council to install a Portakabin type facility in the car park to help resolve this particular problem. Meanwhile plans are gathering pace to build a new custom designed facility which incorporates the forecasted population growth for the town. Agreement has been reached with the Diocese, who own the land, between the church and behind the existing building for the new development. I will share information on progress as it becomes available to me. I meet with the practice and developer every two weeks.
Coronavirus has presented a whole new set of challenges and particularly as the problems developed just as Veor took over the practice. I raised the problem of contacting the surgery with unacceptable wait times and Scott promised to investigate this as a matter of urgency.
Similarly we discussed vaccinations. There has been a very slow rollout of the vaccines which are controlled centrally by the NHS. The first vaccines could only be issued out of Treliske Hospital due to the extraordinary storage problems ( ie storage at -40 degrees C). The newer vaccines can be issued locally and Camelford will be part of that rollout, however demand is exceeding availability and the process is relatively slow. Those people who are in the higher risk categories will be contacted as soon as possible by the surgery and I am confirming the request for people not to ring the surgery about vaccinations as this adds to the system overload.
I told Scott about the positive comments I had received about the new GP and he confirmed that they are close to finalising the recruitment of a second new Doctor. This again will ease the access problems.
There is no doubt that Veor took over the practice at a difficult time and of course Dr Nash’s retirement meant that changes had to be made. Often it takes a time for new arrangements to make a difference and I have received assurances that they will continue to work on on improving the service offered. Part of this will be a communication to all patients registered with the practice hopefully next week to update on changes and the vaccination programme. Again this will form part of a continuous information sharing programme between the practice and patients.
As I have said I will continue to meet with Scott every fortnight and share information as soon as I can. I am not able to discuss personal medical problems so please contact the surgery directly with those issues.
Please share this widely and don’t hesitate to contact me if you want more detail.