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Hebden Bridge Healthcare

From Amy R

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

I was advised last month by paramedics to book a GP appointment. I went online this morning to book an online appointment, which I assumed would be in about 3 weeks. I was shocked to discover there are no online appointments.

The only option is to go through the receptionists by phone-this must be stressful for them and being number 25 in the call queue is certainly stressful for me. I was also shocked to read the number of 0 stars and 1 star online reviews.  My own family experience has been of this order.      

Why is the Hebden Bridge GP surgery and - from the reviews online - the Todmorden surgery - so bad? I'm sure that many of the staff who work there would like to provide a better service.  What can the community do to have a top quality medical practice here?  

It might be argued that all GP surgeries have suffered during the pandemic, but in discussion, it appears there are presently good NHS practices in the Lake District, Scotland, Ripponden, and near Nottingham.  

From Gillian H

Thursday, 2 September 2021

It isn't just patients who are dismayed and frustrated, it's GPs, healthcare workers and admin staff too. They are hugely understaffed and have great difficulty recruiting.

These problems run deep and will no doubt get worse as the NHS is dismantled further.

I see Boots are now offering online GP consultations. I suspect we will see more private services nudging their way in to fill these gaping holes appearing in our beloved NHS.

With regards the Hebden Bridge online service - that was shut down as it was overwhelmed and didn't have the staff to manage it. I hope it is reinstated but I don't think it's going to happen in the short term. Or long term even. It is unlikely that we will ever return to the continuity of care with a named doctor that we once took for granted locally. 

From Amy R

Thursday, 2 September 2021

I'm sure Gillian is right about the problems faced by the surgery. If you look at house prices a lot of people want to live in Hebden Bridge, so I don't know why medical staff don't.

I have not used Boots online myself, but I believe it is suited to single product dispensing, for instance, if you want altitude sickness pills.  Having had a problem that the Hebden Bridge surgery could not address properly, we went online and found the Medic Spot. I thought we were going to see a real GP but it was online.  You have to go to certain places like a pharmacy to access the GP.  The GP appeared on the computer screen and we were completely bowled over by the skill and swiftness with which he handled our issue.  As soon as we got home we were talking to the right office of the right specialist.

I think there are things Hebden Bridge surgery could try to improve the situation: hire a GP like that one. Think about getting new management like a school that goes into special measures. Think about breaking up the surgery into smaller units that could be more economic with lower overheads.  Or try a new strategy: my friend recently changed GPs in England. He noticed the surgery was full whereas other surgeries were empty. He asked the doctor why this was. He answered, "if someone wants to see a doctor, we see them."    

From Gillian H

Thursday, 2 September 2021

They've been trying to recruit for some years now. One of the problems is young GPs preferring to be locums. Better pay and conditions, you clock of at the end of day with none of the admin of a partner - you're free to move around the country working on your own terms. And who can blame them.

Recruiting new partners, when doctors have left through retirement, pregnancy or family reasons has proved almost impossible.

Admin staff are poorly paid - they put in extra unpaid hours which means they are on minimum wage. Added to which they are in the front line from abuse from a frustrated public.

When the surgery was built the whole top floor was supposed to be a cottage hospital for patients recuperating after operations, that sort of thing. But cut after cut to funding has meant you're now lucky to get your ears syringed. We may believe that Hebden Bridge is a wonderful place to live, but luring doctors here, when they can literally pick and choose when and where to work, isn't easy. (One would-be recruit didn't even get beyond the Mytholmroyd roadworks a couple of years ago - turning around deciding it wasn't a good idea.)

Sadly the situation doesn't look like it's going to improve any time soon - and will probably deteriorate further. You can speculate about the politics of this, but remember that this is happening by design and not by accident and it's of no fault of the few staff who are sticking with it regardless.

From Vivienne H

Friday, 3 September 2021

I was very grateful to get an appointment with a healthcare practitioner recently, but I was surprised at the stuffiness of the waiting room.

It has functional windows which can be opened, so I requested that we let some air into the enclosed space. The response was to ask if I would like the air conditioning to be turned on. 

I reiterated that I’d like some fresher air coming in from the outside, but no one had the window keys to hand. They were still looking for them when I was called for my appointment. 

Everyone knows that during a pandemic, it’s a bad idea to let malignant particles build up and concentrate in one place. Why doesn’t our Health Centre, as a matter of course,  ensure good ventilation throughout, especially in rooms visited by people with assorted diseases & vulnerabilities? 

From Amy R

Friday, 3 September 2021

Looking online, there is  a private online GP service at the Spire Hospital in Elland. I don't know if you go to the Hospital or if it's from your home.  

Regarding the Hebden Bridge surgery, unfortunately the situation has changed and maybe new taxes will improve it - but as of now they are sitting on a lot of real estate (one mainly empty surgery in Hebden with big empty waiting rooms, staff working from home) and two more surgeries. That's a lot of  space which could bring in some income to support patients. Why not rent out that top floor with a separate access door. Or consolidate into 1 or 2 surgeries with an access bus.  

If you look at the website of the NHS Great Ormond St Hospital, they are doing considerable fundraising. I don't see why there would be any reason Hebden Bridge surgery could not do this. Hebden children could run sponsored races just as well as  in London, Hebden big businesses could make donations - the public could do crowdfunding. If they need 50 or 100,000 or more  to restart online appointments, raising that amount is not out of the question - Like Captain Tom they just need to campaign.  

From Gillian H

Saturday, 4 September 2021

I agree about ventilation. When I went to A&E with an elderly relative last year, all the windows were open. It was freezing and uncomfortable but felt safer than having them shut.

With regards fundraising - the NHS is being wrung out and sold off under our noses. This has been going on for years but we're now feeling the pinch. The NHS was funded perfectly well through taxation for decades, but we've been groomed over recent years to see it as a problem.

If we're now down to organising sponsored walks to keep it going then we've had it. Perhaps we've already passed the tipping point and it's only a matter of time before private health insurance becomes the norm. Fine if people can afford it, and if they don't have any pre-existing conditions and are able to pay the excess, but for the majority of us it's going to be a hell of a shock, culturally and financially. 

From Amy R

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Reading the Sunday Times, there are a lot of villains responsible for the inability of my family and others to get any kind of GP appointment - including a bureaucratic trial of integrated heathcare in Yorkshire and Lancashire which was a  total failure but not stopped. Maybe this was involved in the attempt to close Halifax and Huddersfield A and E. There is a coroner complaining how GPs failure to see patients in person is leading to deaths,  

I think fundraising for local medical services is  a pretty good alternative to more deaths.  

Calderdale has a big community foundation saving money for use in case of more floods - better to use it now to prevent deaths.  Calderdale has a big Pride community and formerly the surgery displayed a gold treatment seal for them.   There are at least two gay doctors' organizations dedicated to good healthcare for the gay -lgbtqplus community. Why not recruit from them or get them to step in to help out here.

You don't need private health insurance to use the spire GP - but pay per service.  That's expensive but better than suffering  undiagnosed conditions such as cancer, etc.    

Previously, on the HebWeb

Doctor Appointments Jan-Feb 2020

Hebden Bridge Group Practice Jan-Sept 2019