I recently visited Deddington Health Centre to sit down with the GP Partners and Practice Manager at one of their weekly meetings.
The Partners and I agreed that the current level of service is not good enough and that the situation needs to improve. Deddington is facing similar challenges to other surgeries across the country, but the rate of population growth we have seen in North Oxfordshire in recent years has clearly amplified pressures on appointment availability.
The difficulties the surgery has faced with staffing hasn’t helped: a handful of staff have moved on and recruiting replacements has been challenging. However, I was reassured to learn that they have new GPs starting soon which it is hoped will bring much-needed additional capacity.
A concern regularly raised with me by patients is the Health Centre’s telephone system. The system was updated earlier this year to give patients more information on waiting times. The Partners are currently evaluating further possible enhancements which they hope could mark a major improvement on appointment allocation.
I agreed to raise the Partners' concerns with the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board, who oversee primary care locally. I will be meeting the Head of Primary Care Infrastructure and Places Director next week to discuss what can be done to improve the situation.