Fri. Mar 1st, 2024
alert-–-i’ve-been-with-the-same-gp-surgery-for-77-years-but-decided-to-leave-when-i-rang-them-up-–-and-was-told-i’m-number-32-in-the-call-queueAlert – I’ve been with the same GP surgery for 77 years but decided to leave when I rang them up – and was told I’m number 32 in the call queue

A patient who was with the same GP for a staggering 77 years before he abruptly called it quits one morning after hearing he was the 32nd caller in the queue.

Gwyn John, 78, hung up feeling frustrated and instead booked a private appointment at a new National Health Service (NHS) GP surgery.

The widower from Vale of Glamorgan said he now feels ‘refreshed’ after leaving Llantwit Major & Coastal Vale Medical Practice.

The Welsh government said it was ‘disappointing’ to hear of people have difficulty accessing GP services. 

Llantwit Major & Coastal Vale Medical Practice said Mr John’s wait time was ‘not typical’ and the number of calls fluctuated day-to-day. 

Gwyn John, 78, hung up feeling frustrated and instead booked a private appointment at a new NHS GP surgery

Llantwit Major & Coastal Vale Medical Practice said Mr John’s wait time was ‘not typical’ – and the number of calls fluctuated day-to-day 

Gwyn said: ‘I’d been with that GP surgery 77 years and ten months.’ 

He also used to book in regular appointments for his wife Gloria, who had dementia, at the surgery before she died two years ago.

‘When my wife was alive, I couldn’t take chances, I had to hold on in the queue,’ he continued. 

‘But if she needed me, I wouldn’t hesitate, that phone would go down and I would have to start again.’

Gwyn explained he would only book same-day appointments by calling between 8am to 9am or by filling in an online form. 

Gwyn also used to book in regular appointments for his wife Gloria, who had dementia, at the surgery until she died two years ago

Age Cymru said many older people reported having to call their GP back the following day if they were unable to get through to the surgery.

The charity found 72 per cent of the 1,200 people who responded to its survey had a negative experience accessing GP services.

It comes after GP leaders said there was growing concern about the financial health of practices. 

Dr Gareth Oelmann, Chair of British Medical Association Cyrmu Wales’s GP Committee, said the situation would get worse unless the Welsh government could commit to a ‘rescue package’.

He said: ‘The unsustainable pressure facing GPs is felt up and down the country.

‘We have heard from GPs who have been unable to recruit permanent staff for years on end, examples of extreme burnout causing hospitalisation and a rising number of surgeries having to close their doors as they struggle with bills and staffing expenses, leaving thousands of patients having to be treated elsewhere.’

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