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 39 ratings for this GP surgery

1.5 Stars

1.5 out of 5 stars

NHS Choices users' overall rating
Based on 39 ratings for this GP surgery

Telephone access

2 out of 5 stars

(39 ratings)

Appointments

1.5 out of 5 stars

(39 ratings)

Dignity and respect

2.5 out of 5 stars

(38 ratings)

Involvement in decisions

2 out of 5 stars

(36 ratings)

Providing accurate information

2.5 out of 5 stars

(36 ratings)

Reviews

57 total

Jane Talbot-Major gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 4 stars

A New Lease Of Life

Since the bad press (a lot of it justified) of last year, the surgery seems to have turned itself around. There are more reception staff who are friendly and helpful. I very rarely have any problems getting through on the phone to make an appointment, although it can be a bit problematic getting to see your own designated doctor, but as with most surgeries you can usually get an appointment on the day you phone with a duty doctor. My doctor was not particularly popular, a bit abrupt and surly (not a good bedside manner!) but I am with another doctor now. You could`nt find a more caring, considerate person.

Visited in July 2014. Posted on 02 July 2014

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 03 July 2014

Thank you for your kind words, I am sure the staff appreciate a few words of encouragement as we strive to make the improvements that you have noticed sustained and consistent. You also raise a good point, that any patient can elect to have a different doctor, as we recognise that patients and doctors are people too and it is really important to build a rapport in the consultation.
Thank you
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Anonymous gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 5 stars

Such a pleasant surgery to be a part of!

I have to say that i find all staff at this surgery a pleasure to go and see they are so friendly and polite. I have had several queries over the last few weeks but this was swiftly resolved each time by a person in reception. I would personally like to thank them and their team for helping me through my tough issues and times in the past as i know you are very busy as it is. I really feel for you all as it is not an easy job. I have to say that the telephone system in reception has improved ten fold in the last 2 months and i have never been kept waiting for more that 20 seconds before someone answers the phone. Nothing seems to much for them. I am very proud to be a patient at this surgery. Well done and keep up the good work. Tim

Visited in May 2014. Posted on 21 June 2014

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 02 July 2014

Thank you for your kind words, Tim. We really are trying to improve the service to patients and I will pass on your comments to the reception team.

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Barbara Arnold reviewed Birchington Medical Centre

Appointments

I thought the surgery had done away with the ridiculous scenario of phoning up at 08.00 am for an appointment, but no I have been told today to phone at 08:00 am for an appointment for the day of my choice otherwise it will be a 3 week wait to see a doctor Although my problem is non-urgent cannot wait 3 weeks!! As I, like many other people, have to actually go to work and I indeed start at 08:00 am What do you suggest we do to see a doctor before 3 weeks?

I would be glad for your suggestions!

Visited in June 2014. Posted on 02 June 2014

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 07 July 2014

Sorry for the delayed response. As many have already noted, our capacity for appointments has improved, but is not yet consistent. As soon as we get that consistency, fewer appointments will need to kept back on a daily basis to ensure that those who need to get an appointment that day actually can.
We are now looking at extending our hours and are consulting with the patient groups to see which would be best, but are looking at earlier starts and into the evening. If you drop me a line at birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net I will take your preferences into account and update you when the new hours start. Likewise, if you drop me a line I will try and sort out your appointment. Have you registered / tried to book appointments online?
Looking forward to hearing from you so I can help.

Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Patrick Luger gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 2 stars

General service

On Friday the 16th of May i had a telephone conversation with my GP requesting a prescription for some fudisic cream and some Cocodamol tablets.

These medications were not part of my repeat prescription but had however been prescribed in the past.

The doctor informed that she would deal with the matter and the prescription would be ready for the following Monday, giving the surgery time to process this i delayed collection until Tuesday am for collection.

Surprise surprise, no prescription, leaving the matter until late afternoon i phoned the surgery and was told eventually by the receptionist that it could not be found and that a new one would have to be issued.

I am not very happy with this situation and would ask how do prescriptions disappear, and would also point out that although lack of these medication is in this case not life threatening, in somebody elses situation it may well be so.

Further i also note in some of your comments that appointments can be booked on line.

Although registered i find that when i attempt this i am notified to contact the surgery.

I could go on but i think all my complaints are covered in other reviews.

Yours faithfully Patrick J Luger.

Visited in May 2014. Posted on 20 May 2014

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 28 May 2014

I'm sorry for the delayed prescription on the 16th May. Unfortunately the doctor is away due to sickness and I am unable to investigate what she did once she had issued it. I will make contact with you directly once I have looked into the matter.
In relation to online appointments, we have had a couple of technical issues, but we are also working to increase clinical capacity to enable more appointments to be booked online. From June we will be able to extend nurse practitioner / nurse cover and from July we can add another GP, so the situation should improve. When I contact you about the prescription issue I will explain further.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager
birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net

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Anonymous gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 1 stars

Continuation of care

I have been with this practice for over 20 years and I have to say that in the last few years it has gone completely down hill. The main problem seems to be that it is extremely difficult to get an appointment to see the same doctor more than once for the same condition. I tried this morning to get an appointment with the same GP that I saw last time only to be told that there are no bookable appointments as they are on holiday at the beginning of next month and fully booked up till then. I was told that I could try and phone daily at 8am to try for an appointment with this doctor but that has left me really confused as I thought that was for emergencies only. While it isn't essentially urgent, I cannot afford to wait 6 weeks to sort this out. Previous experience has taught me that continuation of care with the same GP is very important. For example I saw about 6 different doctors over 8 years with the same symptoms which were worsening as time went on. I was told it was the menopause, could be a blood clot in my legs and various other things which were all treated/ tested to no avail. After getting to the point where I couldn't walk at all, I googled all my symptoms to find out that I had an extreme reaction to the Statin tablets I was taking for 10 years and not one doctor picked up on this. I then had to fight my corner and insist on a blood test to prove this before the pressure to continue taking them was dropped. I now have another set of problems that have been going on for a couple of years and I have seen several different doctors and finally thanks to the one GP that has actually listened, I think I have the answer. Unfortunately I cannot seem to get an appointment with this doctor to get this treated and sorted out. One not very happy patient!!!

Visited in April 2014. Posted on 09 May 2014

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 13 May 2014

I'm sorry to read about your experience. We recognise that we need more doctor capacity and are currently recruiting. You are also right in that the daily appointments are retained for emergency. We have tried a number of things to improve - the Nurse practitioner experiment appears to be working for the daily emergency appointments and we are looking to increase this too - which should have a knock on effect of increasing doctor availability. Can I suggest that you register for online services, as this will enable you to book your own doctor appointment? If you drop me a line I will arrange this registration for you. Finally, if you drop me a line I will see if I can sort out your appointment with the same doctor, so you won't have to keep repeating yourself.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net

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Anonymous reviewed Birchington Medical Centre

Birchington medical centre

After reading the reviews already on here, it was with much anxiety that I began the week. I have to say I find myself less impressed with the nhs 111 service than the care from the medical centre.
I admit that telephone contact at the surgery really needs more attention - there's no point in having an automated service to put you through during the lunchtime break if you are unable to even leave a message.
However, I can report very positively on the swift response from the Practice Manager leading to both doctor and District Nurses dealing with a situation that, once I was able to bring it to their attention, concluded with a far more comfortable patient all round.
All organisations struggle to get it right all the time and I'm putting my faith in the fact that my concerns were dealt with efficiently and with thought.

Visited in April 2014. Posted on 01 May 2014

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 02 May 2014

Thank you for these comments. You are absolutely right about the telephones and we are still working hard to improve this. We have created a better working relationship with the district nurses and I am pleased that you have seen the benefits of that. However, the points you make are a further reminder that we cannot afford to be complacent and will continue our efforts to embed progress.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Anonymous gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 1 stars

More stressful going to this surgery than an operation

Going to this surgery as it is more stressful than any illness. This week my husband tried phoning the surgery at various times over two days trying to get through. In the end he had to go to the surgery to make the appointment and was told he would have to wait four weeks before he could have a blood test.

Two weeks ago my daughter requested a certificate after having had an operation and was told she had to collect it as it could not be posted. When I went to collect it the following week I was told it was not available as it had not been requested and a request would be put in for the doctor to do it on Monday as he does not work on Fridays. The receptionist I saw was more interested in listening and commenting on what was going on at the other window than dealing with me. The website states the doctor who needed to sign the certifcate works on Fridays and from what I can see the website is out of date and lacking in any accurate information. While there I picked up a leaflet which told me I had missed the last community meeting which, had I known about, I would have attended as I certainly have not seen any improvement. As you can tell from my comments it is not just me but our whole family who appear to have problems with this surgery. I just wonder if my husband will get his blood test results like I did a few month back via a phone call that said there is a prescription awaiting collection with no explanation as to what I was being treated for!! Hopefully the documents my daughter is waiting for will be posted and we can refrain from visiting the surgery again until it is essential and/or things have improved. Maybe I will hear about any future community meeting before the event so I can attend and hear about progress that has been made.

Visited in April 2014. Posted on 12 April 2014

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 14 April 2014

It is not my intention that contact with the surgery is more stressful than any illness. There are a number of issues raised here which I would like to talk through and then use to train our staff to improve the service. The processes are being updated and staff have changed and are being trained, so there has been a lag in improvement, but I am starting to see signs of improvement. However, it is when the patients see signs of improvement will they be validated. If you could drop me a ine at birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net I will be very happy to listen and respond to the range of issues that have troubled you.
Thank you for your continued, though almost exhausted, patience.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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MrsL gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 1 stars

Why is it taking so long to get it right?

For the last 2 years I have needed regular monthly medication and out of the last what is now 25 months the number of times I have been able to collect my prescription and it be exactly right is once! Most of my medication should not be stopped abruptly but this has happened on at least half of the repeat prescription requests. When I have pointed this out to staff at best I've had a shrug of the shoulders and worse I was actually asked why am I expecting the receptionist to dos anything about it. I've had letters telling me to make an appointment with the doctor because of blood tests which I have to have 2 weekly and the person I spoke to decided that it wasn't important or urgent enough to require a quick appointment so I was given a non urgent appointment for nearly 6 weeks away. So when I go to this appointment I will be asked why I am there because the gp doesn't have the time to read anything and I will say that it's for the blood tests 6 weeks previously but it's ok because I've had three other tests since then. There was one gp there that I trusted but they have since moved on so now I am gp dodging because apparently according to one "busy stressed" gp if I loose some weight all my problems will go away! I have been misdiagnosed by gps there twice and every time I leave BMC I feel let down, stressed out, not believed and like I have got absolutely nowhere. I have been a reception manager and a team leader and an office manager and I truly can not understand why this appalling work ethic and attitude towards patients and those in need of empathy as well as the correct medical advice. Sort it out BMC.

Visited in April 2014. Posted on 08 April 2014

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 14 April 2014

I'm horrified to read this account, it looks like you have been short changed on a number of counts. I would like to discuss these issues in detail, so if you would drop me a line at birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net I will be very happy to sort out the various matters.
It is taking longer than I thought to sort out issues here - some are due to staff training, some due to systems that are not working properly and some due to underperformance. I am working with experts from other surgeries to iron out the problems, so I would appreciate your patience while things begin to change and bed in.
What I have been doing is using experiences like yours to highlight to the team how their decision making effects patients service, and I would like to use this as an example, though of course I will take out any identifiable details. Therefore I would really appreciate contact outside of this forum if you were agreeable.
Adrian Young
Practice manager

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Anonymous reviewed Birchington Medical Centre

Patient choices

I thought this site was about patient choice if I had the choice given the lack of service I would use another surgery where they actually answer the phone and you can get an appointment they have had over seven months now to make changes, we havnt had a patient news letter for months either. When is the next public meeting? The communication is still terrible when you do get to speak to them.

Visited in March 2014. Posted on 14 March 2014

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 14 March 2014

Firstly, I will admit that the telephones system hasn't imrpoved enough yet, so I am sorry for that. Part of the problem is the system, partly the staffing levels and their competence. We have recruited and are training the new staff so that will improve soon. We keep back appointments to book on the day so that those that really need to see a GP that day can, but as we get more practitioners we will increase capacity and offer more appointments.
The next newsletter is due out on Monday. I'm really sorry for the delay but there were things that needed sorting before it went out. In it you will see the next public meeting is 4th April. If you would like to get the newsletter by email, please drop me your email address, at birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net and I will ensure you are on the distribution list. If you would like to discuss any of these issues further, please drop me a line and I will be happy to update you further.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Mumofthree reviewed Birchington Medical Centre

Very disappointed

We have recently moved into the area and I'm so disappointed with the surgery already. I have yet to make an appointment (as the phone just keeps ringing!) I've phoned two days in a row but after waiting 15 mins the phone still hasn't been answered. When I originally asked to register I found the reception staff quite rude and not very helpful. I was left waiting at the reception desk for 10 minutes and the receptionist said I'd have to wait even though the desk was empty! I was finally called over by smeone else who was more polite than the receptionist behind the desk but they had no idea of what they were doing! I had to ask for the relevant forms as they weren't sure that there were separate forms to fill in for children to register! I can't rate the doctors as I haven't had the pleasure of meeting any yet (despite trying to make an appointment!) The level of service from the reception staff is not good enough. Before moving to Birchington we lived in Medway and my local doctors were wonderful. The doctors and reception staff were very helpful and caring and always answered the phone after three rings! I agree with the last person and look forward to changing surgeries at some point in the future.

Visited in March 2014. Posted on 12 March 2014

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 13 March 2014

I'm sorry about your experience with us so far, please let me help. I recognise that we have problems with the telephones and am recruiting more staff to be able to answer them promptly. Of course that means they also have to be trained, hence you speaking to someone who hasn't yet been in relation to new registrations. Of course that is no excuse for people being rude, so if you would be willing to discuss further, please drop me a line so I can identify that person and deal with them appropriately. I will also be happy to explain how the appointment system works and give you some guidance about the best way to contact us. If you could drop me an email to birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net I will be very happy to assist.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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