Wiltshire

Private company to quit Swindon GP appointment service in November

Telephone keypad
Image caption Some patients said they were kept waiting on the phone for an hour only to be told there were no appointments

A private company responsible for running appointment systems will no longer be operating at five Swindon GP surgeries from mid-November.

Integral Medical Holdings (IMH) took over support services for some 50,000 patients in the town in 2017.

But patients complained they were kept waiting on the phone for an hour only to be told there were no appointments.

In May, IMH blamed the "unfortunate situation" on a technical issue with its phone system.

But patients have been warned not to think once a different organisation is providing the service for Taw Hill, Eldene and Phoenix surgeries and the Abbey Meads and Moredon medical centres, that they would return immediately to how they were before, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Swindon Clinical Commission Group (CCG), which is responsible to awarding contracts to surgeries and supporting companies, was told by its director of nursing Gill May that IMH had been supporting the practices "but by mid-November the company will have exited the system".

Ms May said the CCG was gathering information on the practices as it was starting discussions with alternative support providers.

She added she had told the board members that additional GPs were visiting the five surgeries to check on backlogs of appointments and results.

"We're looking at complaints and not finding anything we didn't know," she said.

"We've gone through backlogs of results and pathology and everyone who needs a follow up is being seen under the duty of candour."

A spokeswoman for Manchester-based IMH previously said: "IMH Group is sorry for the distress caused by the recurring issues with the new telephone booking system we introduced at our hub of five GP practices in Swindon."

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