A GP surgery has defended its decision to remove a patient - as well as advising them to remove any children registered - after a social media post described them "useless."

Bewick Crescent Surgery in Newton Aycliffe told a patient that it had been left with no alternative but to remove them after taking offence to a Facebook post.

However, the family has described the move as a "step too far," claiming the practice did not contact them to discuss their concerns and instead proceeded to send a letter.

Read more: Anger after 'mindless' vandals try to smash up Newton Aycliffe bridge

In the letter the patient is told that a post, which describes the surgery as "useless" and that it has been this way for "five years," has been brought to their attention.

The Northern Echo:

The letter then states that the comments have been discussed by staff internally who have agreed they are clear evidence of a "breakdown" in relationship.

It then goes on to add that it has started the process to remove the patient from its list, before advising that any registered children should be removed to keep them "all registered at the same practice."

But speaking to The Northern Echo, the patient said they felt they had been treated unfairly, claiming they had been "victimised" following a complaint over GDPR.

The patient's partner alleged that the details of another child – including NHS number and date of birth – appeared on their account after an admin error.

He said: “They didn’t give us any indication that they were going to do this (remove from surgery list), the letter just came in the post.”

Explaining the nature of the comments, he said they had been made in response to someone asking for their recommendations and said it was not malicious to share feedback.

He said: "I just feel like they're going a step too far - they didn’t get in touch about the comments, they didn’t say can we do anything to help or better."

Going on to explain that the family had chosen not to change GPs before this because of fears vital medication may be interrupted, he added that it seemed over the top.

He said: “It’s a massive step to take, it puts us under the stress to re-register and getting medications sorted."

The Northern Echo:

In response Steve Lucas, Practice Manager, said while the practice would not comment on the concerns, the removal of patients was always a last resort and had acted in line with British Medical Association guidelines.

Addressing the removal of patients, a spokesperson from the NHS County Durham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “NHS County Durham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is unable to comment on individual patient cases.

"GP surgeries across the whole of County Durham have been working tirelessly to continue to provide a full service for their patients, as well as supporting an extremely challenging Covid and winter flu vaccination programme. 

"GPs and practice staff are working harder than ever before, but they are also unfortunately experiencing ever increasing levels of abuse.  

"Many staff have considered quitting general practice as a result of this and we may be seeing the beginnings of a real crisis in primary care.

"Feedback is always welcome, both positive and negative, as it gives practices the opportunity to review the services they provide and where necessary or appropriate make any changes or improvements.  

"However, in order to provide uncompromised care to patients there has to be patient and doctor trust.

"Occasionally GPs may decide that the relationship of trust has been compromised and feel they are no longer able to deliver care without being conflicted or compromised, for example after a patient has declared publicly no confidence in their GP or their practice". 


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