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Doctor hits back at critics

PUBLISHED: 00:56 11 June 2003 | UPDATED: 13:59 03 March 2010

A GP has hit back at complaints published in a village newsletter about the level of service at his practice, saying the profession is at crisis point.

A GP has hit back at complaints published in a village newsletter about the level of service at his practice, saying the profession is at crisis point.

Dr Nick Edwards, who works at the Birches Medical Centre in Kesgrave, wrote a letter to the Kesgrave News in response to in a letter published last month, which criticised the practice's appointments system and efficiency.

The comments generated a huge response, with other residents writing in to voice their concern about the way appointments were handled.

The medical centre has recently changed its appointment system to allow patients to make evening appointments on a future-booking basis.

Dr Edwards wrote: "Naturally, it is not the intention of the practice to purposefully make life difficult for individuals. We wish to have a smooth running practice, as do our patients.

"Sadly, the profession of general practice is currently at crisis point with problems of both retaining doctors within practices, an experience we have personally encountered in the last 18 months, and also a recruitment crisis the likes of which has never been seen before in general practice.

"Morale has never been lower in general practice and letters such as this only serve to make this lower still. We do indeed receive a great amount of positive feedback from our patients."

This month's newsletter publishes three pages of letters by local residents about issues relating to the medical centre.

One resident complained of difficulties in contacting the surgery to make appointments for that day, or when booking for future appointments.

Another added: "It really is time that the Birches Medical Centre had more than one means of communication to allow patients to make arrangements to see a doctor.

"It cannot be beyond the ability of the medical profession to make much greater use of the internet."

But the medical centre also attracted support from some residents, who wrote in to congratulate it for its professional service.

One resident wrote: "I have been a resident of Kesgrave for 28 years. Throughout this time I have always received a very sympathetic and professional service from the Kesgrave practice.

"I feel a lot is expected of a practice of two-and-a-half doctors that have a very large data base."

Dr Edwards declined to comment further about his letter.

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