Horsham residents brand NHS ‘a joke’ after failing to get GP appointments

Angry Horsham residents have branded the National Health Service ‘a joke’ after failing to get appointments to see their GP.

They spoke out after a Horsham councillor said she planned to write to all GPs in the district following a string of complaints from residents.

Many have complained that they are unable to get a face-to-face appointment with their doctor since the start of the pandemic.

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Now residents have taken to the County Times Facebook page to vent their views.

Many people have found it difficult to get face to face appointments with their GP since the start of the pandemic

Rachel Robinson said: “I had surgery on Wednesday and have to have packing and dressing changed daily. Drs said they have no appointments and can’t help. I have to go to the urgent treatment centre daily.

“Now tested positive for covid after all the hospital trips, and now have to sit in the hospital car park every day waiting. It’s a joke!”

Matt Parker said: “Getting a GP appointment is one thing, getting past the receptionist is another as it takes seven years to train a GP and seven minutes to train a receptionist to think that they are a GP.

“At my local surgery they won’t do ear syringing on site as they don’t have the time, you have to see a GP to get a referral to the hospital.

“This puts extra pressure on a system that is already stretched to the limit.”

Jill Hewings added: “Our GP still won’t do face to face appointments.”

Georgina Simmonds added: “Someone I know had suspected iron deficiency needing a blood test and the doctor said ‘sorry no can do as they are too expensive. Can you give it til the end of the month or so and come back if you are still feeling unwell then we might be able do one.’

“Classic ... I think we are being pushed private more and more. It’s a shame but our NHS is disappearing fast.”

Patricia Londal said: “I will believe doctors are seeing more patients when I don’t get referred to the nurse first!”

Liz Clarke branded her local surgery “a joke.”

Trudi Scrase said: “I don’t blame the GPs they are so overworked. I blame the lack of funding and infrastructure, soooooo many more houses being built but no further healthcare provision.

“To be 52 in a phone queue at 8.02am is ludicrous - To be number one in said phone queue for 50 minutes is utterly unreasonable!”

Aziza Al Busaidy pointed out: “Even during the height of the pandemic you could get an appointment with private doctors, specialists and dentists but not on the NHS. Rather shameful.”

But not everyone is unhappy with their local GP services.

Emma Skeates said: “I have had no problems. Orchard Surgery have been amazing throughout this awful time.”

And Sue Hutchins added: “Our surgery in Storrington have been brilliant.”

Nick Longdon said: “Holbrook Surgery provides an excellent service.”

A spokesperson for NHS West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group said:“GP practices are incredibly busy right now, as are many other NHS services across Sussex. Staff are working extremely hard to make sure that patients are kept safe, whilst ensuring that people can get the care they need in the most appropriate way.

“GP practices are open, and the number of appointments available have increased with a range of highly trained staff, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists physiotherapists and paramedics who are able to deal with a range of medical conditions, which will help patients get treated sooner.

“We recognise that a triage process may mean that people have to wait longer on the phone, but it means that GP practices are able to prioritise those who need them most to treat them first and identify the most appropriate health professional to provide support, so that GPs are available for those who really need those appointments.

“Whilst it may seem that GPs are less available at the moment, they are actually delivering more appointments than ever while at the same time also leading the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccination programme and preparing for flu vaccinations.

“We understand that it may be frustrating to wait for some time on the phone, but we ask that people continue to treat GP practice teams with courtesy and respect so that they can continue to provide care and support for you. If patients have any concerns about their care, we encourage them to get in touch with us directly with more information.”