Birchington Medical Centre

Telephone: 01843 848818
Address: Minnis Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9HQ
Website: Website address not added

1.5 out of 5 stars

Based on 55 ratings for this GP surgery

1.5 Stars

1.5 out of 5 stars

NHS Choices users' overall rating
Based on 55 ratings for this GP surgery

Telephone access

2 out of 5 stars

(58 ratings)

Appointments

2 out of 5 stars

(58 ratings)

Dignity and respect

2.5 out of 5 stars

(57 ratings)

Involvement in decisions

2.5 out of 5 stars

(53 ratings)

Providing accurate information

3 out of 5 stars

(54 ratings)

Reviews

84 total

Anonymous gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 1 stars

Appalling and disappointing service

How utterly disgraceful that this surgery can continue practicing in the way that it is! Previous reviews back this up. Having elderly parents that have to queue of a morning before 8am to get an appointment is totally unbelievable. What practises follow this method of appointment allocation. Then we have the totally inexperienced receptionists who can't wait to turn the patient away instead of trying to allocate an app in an emergency. Then you have the on line apointment system. Another disaster. The practise management were asked for their help in using the system, even they turned round and said 'oh it doesn't seem to be working today'. What chance do these elderly patients stand when being at a practise like this. Nothing has been done about the poor service and it's well known in the area for being a shoddy practise. Why pay taxes when you get this service. The Local MP needs to get involved!

Visited in May 2015. Posted on 13 May 2015

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 21 May 2015

I'm sorry about your experience thus far. Without going in to history we have certain constraints upon us that are proving very difficult to fix, such as problems recruiting GPs, but we have listened and got rid of the triage system, increased the number and process of appointments on a daily basis and are increasing the number of routine appointments. Please bear with us with these changes and let me know your feedback direct at birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net once they have beeded in. We had problems with the online system some time ago, but have had no problems recently. If you are experiencing problems, please let me know and I will get it sorted.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Anonymous gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 1 stars

terrible surgery, getting worse

This surgery is terrible. Sometimes I have been waiting on the telephone for twenty minutes for an appointment. Additionally when I received a rather scary letter asking me to bring my little (2 year old!) daughter in for an unscheduled bloodtest, for a condition I had no idea about- I rang up to ask the receptionists about it and asked them to get the doctor on the letter to call me to say why my daughter was being called in, they acted very rude and basically refused, saying I was being unreasonable, and 'the doctors do not do that'! Another time when I rang up to get a doctor to ring my husband to prescribe urgent p[ain medication for his back the receptionist was deliberately obstructive, and basically said there were no appointments, until I ranted off about how urgent it was, and how he was unable to come in, and they then relented and gave him an appointment. Basically i feel it has been the receptionists who are (often) rude and obstructive. (some are admittedly better than others ) Recently when I rung up to get an appointment to have a dodgy mole seen to I was given an appointment in either two and a half weeks time, or later that week with the nurse. I have no problem with the nurse (who is very nice) but I do feel me and my family should be able to see a doctor if we need to and not have to give every detail of our case to the receptionists. I have held off making these numerous complaints because I did feel I was always able to see someone on the same day if I waited long enough, but now the system has changed to triage it is a joke|! it is hard for my family to move to a different surgery (I have two under fours!) but I am very dissatisfied with this surgery and hope some of these issues can be rectified!

Visited in May 2015. Posted on 15 May 2015

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 21 May 2015

I'm sorry for your experience, but as you can see from the comments elsewhere, we are making changes after listening to these issues. I will look into the reason for the letter if you give me some further details, because the process should be that the clinician requesting the appointment does flag up the reason behind the appointment.
In relation to the prescription of pain medication, this of course would be a clinical decision and so the receptionists would of course have to refer that to a doctor or prescribing nurse. As described elsewhere we have done away with the triage system and those with an acute need on the day will be invited to an appointment and assessed appropriately.
I recognise that we not only have to fix the daily demand but also improve the routine appointments - I agree 2.5 weeks is too long and we are looking to increase capacity to bring that down to a week or so. Of course in order to do that we need more doctors and we have made some progress with that - compared to just two months ago we have increased our number of available appointments by 10% and have plans to increase that further. I am confident that we can reduce the time to a more acceptable time frame.
If I can help further, please contact me at birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net but I hope that these changes will make a big difference to your experience.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Anonymous gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 1 stars

very disappointed patient

dated 21st may 2015 I tried to get an appointment 2 weeks ago. Could not doctor sent me for x-ray ,the results came back in two days but had to phone again in 4 days which was the 18th May told what the results was. Still in pain ( it is my knee) when I walk so asked if I could have some painkillers , told would get doctor to sign a prescription and put it in chemist so they could deliver it , I do not have transport , phoned chemist today as stated above and told they did not have one for me, they went round to surgery to see what has happened and told there isn't one might still be waiting for doctor to sign, but surgery closed all afternoon ( no wonder we cannot get appointments) .phoned back tomorrow, more phone calls. So that is 2 weeks I have been in pain. I am very disappointed in the surgery not known it so bad. I have been a patient with this practice since 1974 and my husband longer. I only go when it is really necessary, last time 2 years ago , Some things need to be sorted out at the surgery ,by the reviews a lot of people are very disappointed.

Visited in May 2015. Posted on 21 May 2015

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 26 May 2015

The 21st May was closed for a half day training for the staff, doctors and nurses. There are 10 half day training sessions per year, and the next one is 25th June.
I'm sorry about your pain, if you give me your details at birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net I will check this out with the doctors and try to get your problem sorted.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Anonymous gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 1 stars

Can't even call.

Attempted to call three times at quarter to 5 in the afternoon on Thursday the 21st May. Each time I got through to an automated system telling me the surgery was closed despite NHS website and the surgery's own website telling me they should be open until 6:30 on Thursdays. Ridiculous.

Visited in May 2015. Posted on 21 May 2015

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 26 May 2015

This day was a training afternoon for the staff - there are 10 half day sessions per year, and the May date was actually on the front page of the website. These dates are agreed with NHS England and all practices in East Kent were closed that afternoon. The next one is June 25th.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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M Patt gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 1 stars

Worst surgery i have every been to.

I would do anything to get away from the catchment of this surgery to the point I moved house only to find I was still in catchment as not close enough to other one.
It has been the worst experience in my 48 years.
You can never get a call answered, you can never get an appointment. You can never get any advice as staff are so moody and unhelpful. I now go to the hospital or ask friends for advice or internet looking for help.
I have worked and paid into Nhs all my life and get nothing in return from this practice.
Its a disgrace that no one can fix the problems here as I have been with several surgeries in my time and never experience such bad service.
Shame on you Birchington Medical Centre, sadly I am now wading into my savings for private treatment thanks to you.

Visited in May 2015. Posted on 28 May 2015

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 05 June 2015

You paint a gloomy picture and I am sorry for your poor experience. We have made a number of new changes whereby there are appointments throughout the day for those patients with an urgent issue. The telephones are still a problem and due to finances we are stuck with this system until 2018, but we are trying to remedy the issue using more staff. Speaking of staff, even though we get a heavy demand, there is no excuse for them being moody and unhelpful. If you could contact me at birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net with more details I will look into identifying the culprits and deal with them.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Kelly Crees gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 1 stars

The receptionists

Very upset I'm even registered at this doctors, many occasions have sat in the waiting room and over heard personal information being talked about by the receptionists, very rude in the phone and everything is so much hard work for them also they treat elderly people with no respect, I've been waiting for an important scan date to come through and have been chasing the surgery for weeks and keep being told just to wait another week then they will chase it for me, today when I rang they told me to chase it myself and gave me the number I rang up only to find out my referral had never been sent, I just hope it doesn't turn out to be anything sinister as I have now been waiting far to long and this is appalling, I never even got a phone call explaining what had happened the white cliff surgery phoned back and had to explain, very bad patient service

Visited in March 2015. Posted on 20 April 2015

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 24 April 2015

Sorry for the delayed response but I have been away and am catching up. I am very concerned about these issues. Please drop me a line at birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net so that I can investigate further and then provide a fuller response directly to you.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Anonymous gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 1 stars

impossible to book an appointment

Currently I am on day ten of what I now realise is a chest infection not just a cold. Day three in bed and day three of trying to get an appointment. No way of getting through from 8am for appointments for that day, constantly engaged or cut off after one ring. When you finally get through later you're told, by rude staff, to try again in the morning. I don't see how I'll ever get to see a dr but maybe that's the point. If you have any choice do not register here!

Visited in February 2015. Posted on 12 February 2015

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 24 February 2015

Apologies for the delayed response but I was away and then also ill with a chest infection, though not for ten days.
I realise the telephones are still a problem and we have taken on more staff to try and make up for the inadequate system, but clearly it hasn't helped you. I can assure you that it is not the point that we don't want you to see the doctor, it is more the case that so many people want to see one. If you let contact me on the email; birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net I will be happy to take further details and identify who has been rude - whatever the demands, rudeness is not acceptable. Also I will be happy to register you for online booking of appointments so that you can choose appointments that suit you.
In the meantime, please accept my apologies for the inadequate service you have received thus far. If I can help in any way, please contact me at the surgery or by the email.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Paul Ruffle gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 2 stars

I'm still waiting to speak to the Practice Management.

I asked for an appointment with the Practice Management on the 20th February 2015, at the reception desk. I wasn't happy at the possibility of waiting 3 weeks to see either a nurse or a doctor when I had chronic earache. There were also some personal issues that I wanted to discuss with the Practice Management.

The receptionist took my details and said the Practice Management would call me, which has never happened. I've waited quite patiently but it has become clear I've been fobbed off. I don't believe for one moment the message was passed on. This needs to be investigated.

I was also told by the same receptionist that three of the regular doctors were on holiday, yet watching the board it was clear that at least two of them were working.

I wasn't one of those patients that pressed for this practice to be taken into special measures. It is likely that during that time I was too ill to participate, although I would have done if I could.

I'm quite happy with the current nurses and doctors since the surgery has been revamped. I still find the receptionists are either very helpful or very unhelpful, and it's a matter of luck who you speak to.

Fortunately I did speak to one of your helpful receptionists the next day and my ear problem was sorted out.

I'm quite happy to identify this particular receptionist if I see them as I believe they should be reprimanded.

Visited in February 2015. Posted on 13 March 2015

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 16 March 2015

I'm sorry about the lack of contact, if you could drop me a line on birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net with your details I will be very happy to meet and discuss when you are available.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Anonymous reviewed Birchington Medical Centre

Practice Feedback

Awful service, terrible admin staff, never answer the phone - figure on three weeks before you get an appointment.

Doctors are fine, though the turnover is inevitably high, but given an option, you'd be better off accepting your fate than expecting Birchington to sort the problem.

Visited in December 2014. Posted on 02 April 2015

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 07 April 2015

Hi there

I am very sorry to hear that you are having such troubles with our practice and our phone lines. We do have a set number of staff answering phones each day however as it was the day before easter holidays, as you can imagine the phone lines would of been very busy.

I am not sure if you are aware but we do offer online registration for online services such as booking appointments online and requesting your repeat prescriptions etc. If you would like to discuss this further or request an online registration form please email me on birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net.

Kind Regards
Lucy
Asst PM

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UNHAPPY PATIENT gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 1 stars

Cancelled and "moved" appointments

I booked a blood test, health check and appointment to see a doctor two weeks ago all to be on the same day, booked the day off work (un paid). Got a phone call the afternoon before the day to say the blood test had been cancelled. No one else able to do this procedure in a big doctors surgery a little worrying!!!
Then I turned up for my appointments to find my health check appointment had been changed without being told to the next day. So I was left with one appointment.

After waiting an hour after my appointment time and hearing the office staff joking that I was still waiting I walked out without seeing my doctor.
I could not go to the health check the next day. Can't afford to keep taking days off work while birchington surgery continue to mess people around. Some one is going to get seriously ill or worse if this sort of standard of care continues.

Visited in December 2014. Posted on 02 December 2014

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 12 December 2014

I do understand the issue about taking time off for doctor appointments so can sympathise with your frustration here. Unfortunately the blood test had to be rearranged due to staff sickness. I'm sure you would not want to catch something from staff when they are taking your blood, and we did manage to place some appointments with other nurses but could not do them all.
I am alarmed that you heard staff joking about patients waiting and if you contact me on email I will look in to this straight away. I can also explain how we have changed the appointment system and how you can have more choice with doctor's appointments.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager
birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net

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