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 52 ratings for this GP surgery

1.5 Stars

1.5 out of 5 stars

NHS Choices users' overall rating
Based on 52 ratings for this GP surgery

Telephone access

2 out of 5 stars

(54 ratings)

Appointments

2 out of 5 stars

(54 ratings)

Dignity and respect

2.5 out of 5 stars

(53 ratings)

Involvement in decisions

2.5 out of 5 stars

(48 ratings)

Providing accurate information

3 out of 5 stars

(50 ratings)

Reviews

74 total

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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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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Gerry gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 5 stars

Improvemenys

It has improved tremendously but still hard to get through on the phone.
I was a little disturbed to be told that diabetic consultation is now 12months though the blood tests are six months.
Overall I am quite happy with my care and my wife received tremendous support from the nurses.The receptionists are courteous and helpful.

Visited in December 2014. Posted on 21 January 2015

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 04 February 2015

Thank you for the encouragement, we realise that we are not there yet but will keep trying to improve. The diabetic review is scheduled for 12 months for those who seem to be managing the condition - and the six month blood test is to make sure things are going okay. It goes without saying that if there is anything untoward with the blood test, you will be called in for an earlier review. We were finding that some patients were coming in for a 6 month review and it was not necessary at all. However, if you do get worried or have issues, do get in touch. We are in the process of training more nurses to do the diabetic reviews as well.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Anonymous gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 1 stars

what chance of making appointments

the website gives no information.you can never get through on the phone it seems to be pot luck.after engage signal it cuts you off. it seems as if it all needs a complete change

Visited in November 2014. Posted on 26 January 2015

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 04 February 2015

Thanks for your comments, I will address both if I can. What further information would you like to see on the website - any suggestions are gratefully received and I will try and incorporate them if able. Some things are mandatory but there is still leeway to add specific information if it would be helpful.
As mentioned before, we are stuck with the phone system we have as it is prohibitively expensive to change at this time, but we have increased the staff to try and manage the phone answering. This has improved somewhat but clearly we have not yet fixed it. Can I suggest you contact me at birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net and I will register you for online services - you can then book appointments and repeat prescriptions without using the phone?
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Anonymous gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 1 stars

Absolutely Pathetic! Where Is The Communication?

My mum received an urgent letter to go down to the surgery for 4.10 today, she didn't know what it was for so I walked down with her as she struggles. We get there. she goes in then comes out after 5 mins to say the doctor had no clue of the appointment!! all it was about was some results she already knew about from the London hospital she goes to, where is the communication? why do you guys not just talk to each other?. The receptionists are useless as well! and looking at the low ratings on here it seems it hasn't changed. I really dont want to have to have write this but you need to know that you have to improve! its a shame there isn't another surgery in Birchington as we would have gone from here years ago. Please take this opportunity to do something before you lose all your patients.

Visited in November 2014. Posted on 05 November 2014

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 06 November 2014

I'm sorry about this, if you contact me on the email below I will look into what has happened. Is your comment about the receptionists connected to the letter issue as well? If the letter is inappropriate I need to find out who sent it and follow that up.
This has highlighted a further issue of communication between patient and Dr, especially about follow up appointments, test results, etc and we are going to change this system starting next month. In fact if I get the details I will use this example for the team to learn from.
Your title is absolutely correct, where is the communication and I am confident that we will improve in this area.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager
birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net

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Stuart gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 4 stars

Improvements

The Medical Centre has gone through a very remarkable series of changes since the report by NHS England. The appointments system has improved and reception staff are a lot more patient friendly and no doubt under the current practice management this surgery will continue to improve. It is noticeable that we have several new reception staff who have undergone "in house" training which is all for the benefit of patients. the use of more nursing staff including nurse prescribers has improved the service and relieved the doctors of some of the work. There is no doubt that the telephone system still requires considerable improvement although I understand there is a contractual problem which is not easily and quickly solved.
By and large I believe that under the new Practice Manager and the new staff working alongside our existing staff we will continue to see further improvements.

Visited in October 2014. Posted on 26 November 2014

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 04 December 2014

Thank you for noticing the changes we have brought in. We are still working on the phone system and have recruited more staff to try and overcome the deficiencies with telephones. I shall pass on this message to the staff and I am sure that this will encourage them to continue on the improvement road.

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maxine williams gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 1 stars

failure to answer phone

for 4 solid hours i have been trying to get through to someone regarding an elderly client of ours who needs an urgent visit from a D/N but no one is willing to answer the phone to me. I am very disappointed in this surgery and the level of care they are supposed to deliver. I hope that this service has improved for when i need to contact them again.

Visited in October 2014. Posted on 01 October 2014

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 02 October 2014

I'm sorry for this, but actually the District Nursing team is not part of my staff, even though they are housed here. Their role is of course out in the community, so if you are ringing they would be out of their office. In fact they are normally only there first thing and at lunch time. If you could contact me (birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net) to discuss which numbers you are using to contact them, I will be happy to advise so this doesn't occur again.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Anonymous gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 1 stars

Telephone consultation

I rang at 8:00 to make an appointment could not get one but was offered a telephone consultation after morning surgery very long mornings at this practice as eventually after calling back 5 times I got a call at 6:25 advising me that a prescription had been left for me at the chemists that I can pick up in the morning long mornings clever doctors who can prescribe without talking to the patient and leaving a prescription at a chemist that is now closed meaning that having spent all day waiting for a call my plans have to be changed tomorrow as I now have to pick up a prescription that had you kept to your promise of a call after morning surgery this would not have happened

Visited in October 2014. Posted on 24 October 2014

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 29 October 2014

I am sorry about your experience, it is clear that the present system is not working as effectively as we envisaged, so we are planning to change the system to remove the 'call-back' procedure entirely. This is slightly dependent on our success in recruiting another doctor - we have two that we will be interviewing shortly, but nevertheless we will be changing the appointment system very shortly. We are also recruiting staff to the team to answer phones in order to improve.
Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience and delay.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager

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Anonymous gave Birchington Medical Centre a rating of 1 stars

Differing information given by reception staff

My husband was given the choice of a telephone consultation, which we thought was a brilliant idea. he was told the day and the receptionist said it would be between 12 and 3pm. So as he was at work, he arranged his meetings around this time, only for the doctor to phone at 10.15am. He went down to the surgery that evening to be told by another receptionist that the doctor could phone any time of the day. It would be great if all the reception staff read from the same book.
So therefore I still have not had a phone consultation with the doctor.

Visited in October 2014. Posted on 31 October 2014

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Birchington Medical Centre replied on 06 November 2014

Sorry for the delay in response - I have been busy recruiting for the reception team. Sorry for the misinformation - they should have clarified that it is really difficult to specify when the Dr will be able to call - they can deal with all sorts of issues which can put their timings out. Normally they do have a morning clinic and try to make their calls before their afternoon clinic starts at 3pm, but if for instance a patients fails to attend for their appointment, the Dr may take that opportunity to do phone calls in that slot. If you could contact me I will be able to find out what happened and book an appropriate appointment for you if it is still required.
Adrian Young
Practice Manager
birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net

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