'It's getting better' - NHS chief addresses Cardinal Practice concerns

Deben Road Surgery will be absorbed into the new development on the Took's site.

Deben Road Surgery is one of those included in the Cardinal Medical Practice - Credit: Paul Geater

Improvements are being made at Cardinal Medical Practice with shorter waits on the phone for patients, say health bosses.

Concerns have been growing around the Ipswich practice around access and speed of treatment. 

On Tuesday, Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group met to discuss the practice, where Healthwatch Suffolk called for more details of the surgery's planned move to the Tooks site, saying people were "in the dark".

David Brown, the CCG's deputy chief operating officer, gave an update on the merged doctors' surgery.

Mr Brown said; "It's getting better.

"We are definitely starting to see an improved position."

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich raised concerns with the Care Quality Commission in September, following the merger of the Norwich Road, Chesterfield Drive and Deben Road surgeries.

David Brown, deputy chief operating officer at Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group

David Brown, deputy chief operating officer at Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group. Picture: NHS IESCCG - Credit: NHS IESCCG

Mr Brown said one of the main things people had complained about since the merger was how long they had to wait on the phone.

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"The waits have reduced dramatically. Another thing that has reduced dramatically is the number of people who called and then abandoned their call," he said.

He said the Cardinal Practice had needed to take on around 900 patients from the Claydon and Barham surgery, which closed down just at the time the merger was taking place.

This had added to the pressures of merging staff and systems while working at three separate premises.

The new surgery should be built on the new housing estate on the former Tooks site in north west Ips

Healthwatch Suffolk wants more information on the planned super-surgery at the former Tooks bakery site in Ipswich - Credit: Sonya Duncan

There had been problems including IT issues as well as waits for appointments, leading to complaints and letters from patients.

The officer said: "The practice has responded really well to this. They have met some of the patients and written to some on these issues, and they're working positively with the patients."

An operations manager and three new receptionists have been appointed to help reduce waiting times and work through an action plan.

Committee chair Phanuel Mutumburi said the CCG would continue to monitor Cardinal's progress around issues including IT and other challenges.

"If any support or help is needed by the practice, then we will look at how that can be provided."  

Chesterfield Drive GP Surgery Picture: ARCHANT

Chesterfield Drive GP Surgery Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Gill Jones of Healthwatch Suffolk said it would be helpful for patients to have more information about the practice's planned move to a new super-surgery at the former Tooks Bakery site.

"I think a lot of people are in the dark about this, and when people are in the dark, it leads to misinformation and rumours."

Mr Brown said a lot of work was going on to do with the Tooks site, and it had to go through a lot of governance because there was a large sum of money involved.