A GP surgery in Basingstoke has vowed to improve phone waiting times following a meeting with local councillors.

Operose, which runs the Camrose, Gillies and Hackwood (CGH) Partnership in Basingstoke, met with councillors earlier this month to discuss concerns about the way it is running the surgery.

Read more: Hour wait to call GP surgery as claims made that Basingstoke is being 'let down'

The American health firm is responsible for the care of more than 63,000 patients at GP surgies in Basingstoke

Labour Councillor Kim Taylor, a county councillor for Basingstoke Central Division, said councillors had been inundated with concerns from residents experiencing problems trying to see a GP, and claimed that Basingstoke was being ‘let down’.

She organised a cross party meeting with Operose to discuss the problems and said: “We were pleased to hear from the Operose team that they are moving towards increasing the number of face-to-face appointments.”

The Labour councillor said there was a “general acceptance” from Operose that the e-consult system is not “universally liked and acted as a barrier between patients and the surgery”.

Raising concerns from residents, Cllr Taylor told Operose about problems getting through on the phones; residents wanting face-to-face appointments to resume instead of telephone triage; problems waiting up to three weeks for a telephone triage appointment; and problems with telephone appointments not being at a specific time of the day.

She said: “Operose agreed to look at the issues and provide an improvement action plan by the end of March. We agreed we would meet and review this quarterly.”

Representatives from NHS Hampshire, Southampton, and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) also attended the meeting.

Cllr Taylor said they agreed to develop a strategic plan for Basingstoke regarding GP surgeries.

She added: “I have been making it clear that the situation in Basingstoke for primary care provision needs a review. Basingstoke is the biggest town in Hampshire but it is increasingly difficult or impossible to get GP providers or dentists offering NHS appointments.

“The difficulties of consistently securing GP providers to take on surgeries and run contracts has been going on for very many years. There has been a long trail of poor performance, contracts being returned and ignoring patients and councillors’ concerns.

“Ensuring adequate quality provision is the direct responsibility of the CCGs, so I am really pleased that they have agreed to undertake a strategic review of the situation in Basingstoke and develop a plan for the future. I look forward to discussing this further with them and hope they will engage with councillors and patient participation groups so all our voices are heard.”

An spokesman for Operose said: "Our recent meeting with local councillors and patient representatives was very open and positive, and we will update them regularly now on our investment in services and staff at the practices.

"We have agreed some priority areas, including further improvements to phone waiting times and recruiting more staff. Councillors welcomed the news that we have more GPs and clinicians joining the practices.

"We are also attracting more receptionists and admin colleagues since becoming an accredited living wage employer earlier this year and offering 27 days minimum paid holiday.

"It was really helpful to hear this feedback from local representatives. We would urge all our patients to consider joining their local patient participation group to share their experience and help shape the care they receive. Details are on our website."

Hampshire, Southampton, and Isle of Wight CCG has been asked for a comment.

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