Birchington Medical Centre

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

2 out of 5 stars

Based on 50 ratings for this GP surgery

2 Stars

2 out of 5 stars

NHS Choices users' overall rating
Based on 50 ratings for this GP surgery

Telephone access

2 out of 5 stars

(53 ratings)

Appointments

2 out of 5 stars

(55 ratings)

Dignity and respect

2.5 out of 5 stars

(54 ratings)

Involvement in decisions

2.5 out of 5 stars

(48 ratings)

Providing accurate information

3 out of 5 stars

(51 ratings)

Reviews

91 total

Anonymous gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 4 stars

My experience to date

Having read some of the reviews on here, I felt I needed to make a comment.

I recently joined the surgery (the week before last.). when I went in to register, the receptionists were friendly and helpful. I was told to allow a couple of days for my information to be entered onto the system and then make an appointment to see a doctor. I popped in to make an appointment to see the doctor, and was told that the first available appointment was at the beginning of Sept but if it was an emergency or became urgent the surgery hold back a few appointments each day and to call in. The staff again friendly and polite. Yes Sept is some time away but when I read how many people had missed their appointments in a single month, I believe that the (selfish) people who couldn't be bothered to ring up or call in to cancel appointments are more to blame than the surgery! Those appointments could have been released to others that needed them! Plus, the Birchington area has a large percentage of elderly patients which no doubt leads to a greater demand placed on the surgery, than one based in an area with a younger population (unfortunately, it's a fact of life that as we age our bodies are no longer as reliable as they once were!). Additionally, many surgeries now insist wherever possible that a patient has a triage appointment (telephone) rather than attend the surgery, unfortunately a sign of the times due to large ageing population, insufficient numbers of doctors being trained, cuts in funding, etc.

I also made an appointment for a nhs health check which I had today. I found the receptionist friendly and professional as was the person I saw. I told them I wanted if possible to have a fasting blood test to check for diabetes as it runs in my family and I firmly believe in prevention rather than a cure at a later date. They took my concerns on board and I am returning to the surgery to see them tomorrow morning at 8.20 a.m. which I consider to be an excellent service.

Admittedly, I have yet to see a doctor, so it will be interesting to see how that appointment goes, but so far I cannot fault the service I have received, or the friendliness and professionalism of the staff I gave encountered so far. If the comments on here are anything to go by, poor surgery staff. As a patient we also have a duty, and that is to be courteous to the staff, have patience (with fellow patients giving lengthy explanations to staff ahead of us in the queue as well as the staff), and explain as clearly and succinctly as we can our symptons and concerns so they may be addressed.

Visited in August 2015. Posted on 03 August 2015

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 10 August 2015

Thank you for your kind comments and your understanding. You mentioned the did not attend appointments, and it is very frustrating for us that in July, when demand has been very heavy, we had almost 16 appointments per day where patients did not attend. These include nurse appointments, so it is not always the doctor appointments, but if patients could let us know, even on the same day, that they cannot attend, we can often fit another patient in.
It is also true that July and August are the prime holiday demand times, and doctors, especially those with school aged children, want their leave at this time. We have secured some locum cover but there is inevitably an impact on the number of appointments available.

Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Anonymous gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 2 stars

- waiting almost 3 weeks for A letter

I handed in a medical letter Monday 20th July and was told by the receptionist who was very lovely that the doctor would fill it out for me. I rang the doctors on the Tuesday 5th August and was told it was done. Well ! Wednesday 6th August express medical rung me up because they still had not received my letter! I rang the doctors Back up to be told to ring back on Friday 8th August at 3pm. So I did to be told "oh no sorry your doctor has been away and was unable to do the letter". I stated it was urgent and if I do not get this letter done then I will loose a job over this. Pushing onto 3 weeks and I Stated, the latest I need it by is Tuesday 11th August. I am not holding my breath tho. I just think it is unfair , how I was Misinformed and would like a explanation. I understand the surgery is busy but to keep me waiting 3 weeks for a letter is appalling.

Visited in August 2015. Posted on 09 August 2015

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 10 August 2015

I'm sorry for the delay. If you could drop me a line at birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net, I will look into the matter. Although it is true that these types of letter requests are not a priority, as often they are not covered by the NHS contract, we should still be able to get them completed in a timely manner.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Zoe gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 1 stars

If you need an appointment within under a month dont go here

I joined this surgery a few months ago and phoned to make an appointment, when i got through they asked if it was urgent, I said yes and they said they would see me on the same day considering it was urgent. In addition to that what they call urgent appointments is if you are almost practically dying. Worst doctors surgery ever. they told me i could have an appointment early as possible 23rd sept which is a joke, i can understand if they are busy but when I am in agony and need to see someone don't rely on them to help you.
Highly do not recommend.

Visited in July 2015. Posted on 21 August 2015

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 21 August 2015

We hold appointments back every day for those patients that need to be seen immediately, so that is what is meant by an urgent appointment. If it is a routine matter, then we would normally be able to offer an appointment with your doctor within a week or so, but we have had great difficulties in the July and August months due to leave, especially doctors with children. We would normally backfill with locum doctors, but they have also been scarce, though we have two locums today. That is why there is a wait for a 'routine' appointment. Have you considered registering for online services, so you can book direct? If you drop me a line at birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net I will get you registered.
I'm sorry you have had difficulty with the appointment system, but I can assure you that if you are 'in agony' you will be able to get an appointment on the day.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Anonymous gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 5 stars

grateful holiday maker

writing as a visiting holiday maker I found the centre bright and airy, the staff were all efficient , polite and friendly. Questions were asked to make sure I was in need of an emergency slot which is fair enough. . all waiting emergencies I could see were seen in half an hour which is quicker than my home surgery with a proper appointment! The reception staff seemed happy in their work and dealt with one particularly challenging patient at the reception with tremendous patience and kindness.
I noted the electronic information board stating an average of 12 patients a day fail to show !
Thankyou Birchington for helping me get my very necessary medical care and get on with my visit to your lovely part of the country.

Visited in July 2015. Posted on 04 July 2015

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 13 July 2015

Thank you for these kind words, I will pass to the staff concerned.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Anonymous gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 2 stars

Doctor was patronising, and made me feel small.

Firstly, I would like to say that I have never had any issue with the reception staff - they are all lovely and work very hard to create a nice environment in a busy surgery which runs inevitably behind schedule. However, upon finding a lump and experiencing headaches which has impacted my vision, I felt completely ignored by the doctor when I went in to be seen. Having waited an hour for the appointment, I was hardly in there, they didn't even check the lump and I was told that I should have waited until I had symptoms till I came in. I appreciate that the Nhs is providing a wonderful service and are inundated with patients, but I feel that if a doctor saw my request as 'a bit pointless' I should have been told that when I walked in the surgery to book the appointment. Never have I been made to feel so stupid and small by a health worker. If nothing else, I felt they were rude and didn't take my concerns seriously - even if I was being a bit over cautious, I feel like this could have been dealt with in a manner which didn't appear patronising. I have been going to this surgery for decades now, and this was the worst experience I have had.

Visited in July 2015. Posted on 14 July 2015

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 17 July 2015

You say you had a lump and symptoms of headaches and that is worrying. I'm sorry, that doesn't seem right at all. If you would contact me via birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net I will look into the matter and advise accordingly.

Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Anonymous reviewed Birchington Medical Centre

Appointment waiting time

Following recent investigative throat surgery( 28th May) in a London Hospital, it was discovered i had heart problem, the request from the hospital was for my gp to arrange an ECHO referral- Urgent! Since then i tried on several occassions to make an appt in order for someone to explain what the heart problem is (the letters of the heart condition mean nothing to me), what does urgent mean etc etc. I feel like i have just been left hanging! Completely in the dark! I had blood pressure taken a few days ago, high yet again, the nurse felt i needed a blood pressure at home monitor, 7 day holter and review of blood pressure tabs asap. Reception rang me same day, 14th July to arrange appt to sort this equipment out and meds review. The earliest appt was 18th August! This hardly constitutes asap! The stress of trying to get some basic information is ridiculous! I have now reached the point of walking away from all of this and just taking my chances where my heart is concerned, even though other symptoms i dismissed in the past are now fairly obvious. Getting a same day appt is a nightmare as i begin work at 7am and can't always access a phone, or if i do, then surgery constantly engaged, finally get through, all appts gone, yet again. On my recent post op visit in London, the consultant was appalled that no appt for heart echo had yet been arranged or carried out.

Visited in July 2015. Posted on 17 July 2015

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 21 July 2015

I'm sorry that you have had problems with the surgery. If you would contact me at birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net I will investigate what has happened and report back to you.
As far as appointments on the day are concerned, there are always appointments held back each day and you don't have to ring in at 8am - you can get them throughout the morning. Better still, why not register for online services and book your appointments without using the telephone. If you would like to avail yourself of this option, again let me know and I will send details.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Anonymous gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 1 stars

Impossible to make an appointment

Every day last week I phoned to make an appointment but was kept waiting on hold for so long I had to give up. Several weeks ago I had a suspected TIA and kept phoning but the answer machine just said we are closed but not for how long. It turned out to be all day for staff training why was this not stated? Today in desperation I queued up to make an appointment but was told the manager has not yet released the clinic times so the receptionist could still not make me an appointment and I have to go through the whole process again. Not good enough!

Visited in July 2015. Posted on 20 July 2015

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 21 July 2015

We close for 10 afternoons per year, the next one is July 23 for staff training and this is posted on the website and at the front. I'm sorry you have had trouble making your appointment.
We are entering the prime holiday period and doctors and nurses also book their holidays, especially if they have school aged children, so there are some shortages of appointments. However, the clinics have been released. Why not register for online services so you can book your appointment without using the telephone or coming down to the surgery. If you are interested in this, please drop me a line at birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net and I will send details.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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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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