A general letter sent to patients registered at the West One Surgery in Crewkerne has upset the practice’s loyal supporters. Sent by Crewkerne Health Centre in Middle Path, the letter headed up Review of West One Surgery Healthcare Services, states: ‘We are writing to update the work that has been taking place to review the systems and processes used by the West One Surgery team to align them with those used at Crewkerne Health Centre.’

West One Surgery merged with Crewkerne Health Centre in July 2018 and the practice teams joined together into one larger team, to share clinical expertise and resources. Both medical practices are part of Symphony Healthcare Services. Response from patients who were originally registered at West One Surgery, in some cases having previously transferred from the Middle Path surgery, is that, “They need to put their own practice in order first before questioning others.”

Key recommendations following an inspection, carried out by the Care Quality Commission in September 2018 at West One Surgery, were identified as a need to ensure that ‘the prescription of regular B12 injections are within the national recommended guidelines, consistent detailed patient records are adequately maintained, patients receiving long-term medicines are regularly reviewed and patients with long-term health conditions are offered an annual review.’

In some cases, patients records were lost when they transferred from another doctor’s surgery, through no fault of West One Surgery, as the common practice across the country is to send them to a national hub. It has been widely reported, that the NHS SBS warehouse where over 700,000 documents were stored, instead of being sent to where they had been requested, has resulted in a major headache for medical practitioners in tracking test results and past medical history of their patients.

On the whole, patients who were happy to share their experiences at the West One Surgery before the merger, said they had no problems with the healthcare offered and received. With regard to B12 injections, those who were diagnosed as being deficient in vitamin B12, due to their body’s mal-absorption and not poor diet, expressed that the importance of B12 be more widely known and taken serious by all medical practitioners as nerve damage caused by a lack of B12 can become permanently debilitating.

The general letter ends stating that, ‘We want to ensure that our patients stay healthy at home for as long as possible and we would encourage all patients, including children, with long-term health conditions to attend regular clinics and/or their annual birthday month reviews.’ A bold statement which patients of the combined medical practices at Crewkerne Health Centre, hope will lead to more answers than questions.

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