Labour has called for an investigation into the handling of the re-allocation process for former patients of Folkestone East Family Practice.
It’s estimated over 1000 people formerly registered at the practice may be without a GP. It’s known that a list of 2320 patients deemed vulnerable by the closing practice was reduced to 1143 by the local Clinical Commissioning Group. Those deemed vulnerable by the CCG were automatically allocated a new GP, but it is unknown what has happened to the other patients listed as vulnerable by the surgery.
Labour has been supporting people who have been let down by the re-allocation process which was supposed to be handled by Primary Care Support England. The private company Capita hold the contract. Problems Labour is aware of include:
• People who sent off their preference form to be allocated a new GP in good faith and heard nothing back.
• People who rang the PCSE helpline (and pressed option 6 registrations) to chase it up and were told it wasn’t possible to check if their form had arrived, and just to wait.
• People who, through no fault of their own, sent the form to the wrong address because the wrong address was on the first online version of the letter.
• People who subsequently filled in a new form but experienced delays in getting confirmation of their allocation.
• Concern among some patients about what happened to forms that went astray from a data protection point of view.
Laura Davison, Folkestone and Hythe Labour candidate in June’s general election said, “There are a lot of unanswered questions about this re-allocation process. The worry of it has made people ill. There should be a proper investigation into examples of where things have gone wrong. We can’t just let time go by and hope everything just quietly sorts itself out. That’s not good enough.”
Labour is also calling for these issues to be raised by MP Damian Collins in parliament. A Community Conference on health organised by the Labour party at the weekend circulated advice to FEFP patients on what to do if they still don’t have a GP. Speakers at the conference highlighted concerns about a number of issues affecting health services in our community: cuts to breastfeeding services, cuts to disability support, and the wholescale transformation of our healthcare under the Sustainability and Transformation Plan programme.