Following complaints from patients at Llanelli’s Ty Elli surgery, and the recent protests over the closure of Harbour View surgery in Burry Port, the MP and & AM for the Llanelli constituency have met with the Chief Executive of Hywel Dda Health board to express their concerns.
Patients at the Ty Elli were recently informed that because of a shortage of Doctors no new patients could enrol at the practice by a ‘patient notice’ posted in the surgery. “We would request you only visit your GP practice when appropriate and have already taken advice from a pharmacist and treated with self care” the notice said. Similarly many patients in Burry Port found out that Harbour View surgery was to close from a notice on the door.
Nia Griffith MP and Lee Waters AM told Chief Executive Steve Moore that the way patients have been informed about the changes was not good enough.
“Lack of information inevitably leaves patients worrying and the rumour mill goes into overdrive. We just want the Health Board to be upfront when there are difficulties ahead, and to spell out what is happening. I was relieved to hear that in spite of pressures, all existing patients in Llanelli are being catered for, and that there are places for new patients at some practices. Any notice on a surgery saying that there is no room for new patients should at least signpost patients to surgeries that can take them. Lee and I will be continuing to put pressure on the Health Board to prioritise recruitment, and to ensure all patients from Harbour View are fully catered for”, Nia Griffith MP said
“We understand the Health Board has a challenging situation to manage with Doctors reaching retirement and others wanting to work more flexibility. This does mean that from time to time some GP surgeries will ask to close their lists so that they can work on a plan to fill vacancies, but it’s essential that when this happens it is dealt with sensitively” Lee Waters AM said.
“There are a number of surgeries who are struggling to recruit Doctors and specialist roles like senior nurse practitioners. The Health Board have a responsibility to make sure people have access to a surgery, but they do not run them – these are run as private businesses by Doctors. GPs need to work closer with the Health Board to deal with vacancies and both need to communicate better with patients when changes are necessary” the Llanelli AM added.