These were the scenes at 10:30 Saturday 20th October outside St Andrews and the Gillies Medical Centres as several hundreds of elderly and frail patients had to queue for their annual flu jab.

Together with the Hackwood Partnership they recently merged with in July 2018 to form the Acorn Health Practice, looking after 44,500 patients – that’s nearly half of the Basingstoke population.

I was on the scene speaking to residents.

Speaking to one resident she asked me how she was supposed to help her frail 92-year-old father queue in the cold to receive a Jab, others were plainly bewildered about what was happening.

Another said “It wasn’t like this before they got so big, last year you could just pop in and you were seen in a matter of minutes. Why text me to come if they knew they couldn’t cope”

This is not the first time I have received complaints from patients of the practice about poor levels of service since the merger. Its an easy excuse to blame stocks of vaccine for this fiasco but manufacturers are reported in the press as saying stocks are not an issue. Its more likely to be poor organisation and ordering systems.

I just don’t understand why patients are being told to come along to flu jab sessions and then having to queue in the cold like this.

This was my first photo

By the time I had taken this and got back to the car the queue was round to the pizza shop.

No better at St Andrews surgery at Camrose.

Cllr Kim Taylor

Cllr Kim Taylor

Brighton Hill Labour Councillor

It’s not just the continued liturgy of complaints about this merger but we have seen quality and service problems following the Beggarwood and Roooksdown Merger. This particular merger is now in such difficulty that on 3/10/18 Deputy Leader of the Conservative Council, Councillor Teri Read was quoted on the social media Nextdoor site as saying:

“The companies running Beggarwood and Rooksdown surgeries have approached the Local Clinical Commissioning Group to discuss potentially withdrawing from running the surgeries long term.”

Out local Clinical Care Commissioning Group must be more diligent in their decision making. Allowing these mergers to take place is just encouraging private companies to take over the ownership of GP surgeries on a profit motive basis. According to Companies House the accounts of organisations involved in running Rooksdown and Beggarwood show an offshore venture capital company Butterfly Venture as their parent company.

Allowing private companies to quite literally see the NHS as an opportunity to make money and squeeze it until the pips squeak is not acceptable.

Its time that our Clinical Care Commissioning Group were called to public account for continuing to allow mergers creating supersized practices which just don’t work. Those at the top should be reflecting very hard on their own performance and how the people of Basingstoke are being let down.

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