Pensioners forced to wait longer to get medical help


Surgery bosses say practices are facing huge demand and have had to adapt ways of working due to the pandemic

Pensioners have been forced to queue outside a doctor’s surgery at 6.30am as an “out of date booking system” and high demand make it difficult to get appointments.

Angry councillors and residents say the Audley Mills Surgery in Rayleigh’s “archaic” call in system means they have to keep redialling to try to get a booking, and are now lining up early to see a health professional.

Surgery bosses say practices are facing huge demand and have had to adapt ways of working due to the pandemic.

One 86-year-old slammed the surgery booking system. He said: The call-in system starts at 8am and then you get talk about Covid and they say they are busy and you can redial for up to 30 minutes at times. A couple of times I have queued outside the surgery and I don’t know if many know but they open at 7am and you can book an appointment.

Councillors also said they have had similar experiences at the surgery.

Jack Lawmon, Independent councillor for Wheatley, said: It’s a real problem and pensioners and families do queue very early to see someone. It’s just not on and they do need to rethink the issue.

Cheryl Roe, deputy leader of Rochford District Council, said: It’s outrageous this is happening and has a knock-on effect on hospital A&E too.

A spokesman for the practice said: We understand many people have had a frustrating time waiting longer to get the help they require. GP practices across the country are facing unprecedented demand for services, delivering more appointments than ever before.

The spokesman said: Due to the pandemic, practices have had to adapt the way they work and how services are provided in order to keep both patients and staff safe. The pandemic is not yet over, and so some change are still in pace. At Audley Mills, we offer appointments in a variety of ways to suit the patients’ needs.

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