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Birchington Medical Centre staff claim 'you're not worth it'

By Isle of Thanet Gazette  |  Posted: October 29, 2013

By Tom Barnes thomas.barnes@krnmedia.co.uk

  • DISGRUNTLED: The picture of the centre made by an angry patient

  • ATTITUDE: Secretary Heather Price

  • BAD ATTITUDE: Birchington Medical Centre staff have been complaining about patients on a publicly visible Facebook group

  • LIGHTER NOTE: Practice nurse Amanda Jefferson looks at the funnier side of the CQC investigation at Birchington

  • JOKE: The cartoon posted in reference to the CQC report into Birchington

  • REMOVED: The group was deleted on Tuesday night

  • CONTROVERSY: Birchington Medical Centre

Comments (15)

BIRCHINGTON Medical Centre faces fresh controversy over a Facebook group where staff complained about patients and joked about a Care Quality Commission report.

The group, which has since been deleted, was "open", meaning anyone could view the content posted. Staff reportedly did not realise their comments were public.

The centre is now investigating and says appropriate action will be taken where necessary.

A post in the name of receptionist Brendan Kelsey shows a picture of the centre with the caption: "If Carlsberg did medical centre's [sic] this wouldn't be it."

The image was taken from the Facebook page of a disgruntled patient.

In response, a comment in the name of Mr Kelsey says: "I even offered to sort out [the patient's] problem but the picture still remains on his [Facebook] wall.

"Won't bother now as I guess he's proud of his primary school level joke. Not going to run around trying to get people's prescriptions or sick notes done by the end of the day or offer to call them back when their query has been answered.

"Because the people of Birchington are the opposite of L'Oréal… they're not worth it!"

A posting in the name of secretary Heather Price says: "And they [patients] wonder why they get an attitude when they come in."

One post in the name of practice nurse Amanda Jefferson contained a cartoon of a skeleton holding a telephone with the caption: "Your call is very important to us, so please continue to hold."

The cartoon appeared to be in reference to CQC findings, where inspectors noted that patients had complained about waiting times to speak with a receptionist.

The accompanying comment read: "On a lighter note of recent months I couldn't resist this one, lol. It actually made me laugh so I hope it amuses you all."

A spokesman for Birchington Medical Centre said: "The doctors and managers were totally unaware of this incident until we were contacted by the Thanet Gazette.

"We would like to offer our apologies to our patients and to the community. This is unacceptable and we will take steps to ensure such a breach of trust and confidence is not repeated.

"We have been working hard to address the concerns raised by the CQC and will continue to do so. Our patients are the reason we are here and we will continue to work with them to repair our relationship with them."

A spokesman for NHS England (Kent and Medway) said: "We are grateful to the Thanet Gazette for bringing this to our attention and we have raised our concerns with the practice and they are now investigating. Until investigations are complete we cannot comment on the specific allegations

"However, rather than make light of a critical CQC report, NHS England would always expect staff to work to make the required improvements.

"We understand that a critical inspection can upset staff. However, this should never be used as an excuse to make negative comments about patients or their local community."

The CQC report published on October 5 observed a number of problems at the surgery, including failure to carry out proper checks and a failure to act on patient complaints.

Following the investigation, an action plan was drawn up to ensure the necessary improvements were made.

Patient and parish councillor Bill Furness said: "The doctors, management and staff put their heads above the parapet and took the flack thrown at them by some of the patients, they are now doing their best to overcome these problems.

"When you put down your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter, it is there forever, what you say in haste is unlike saying it face to face, it cannot be retracted."

The members of staff who appear to have made the posts were offered the opportunity to respond but all three declined.

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15 comments

  • buzz1640  |  December 14 2013, 9:31PM

    I have more reasons to moan than some, but you can't blame all the staff at BMC for a few idle useless tongues, get on with life and help the practise to look ahead, because you've made your point, now help improve what your all moaning about, I FOR ONE SAY, LETS START HERE AND NOW TO HELP PUT THINGS RIGHT, BECAUSE WE ARE ALL COMING TO THE END OF LIFE, AND MOANING ABOUT THE PAST WON'T HELP ONE LITTLE BIT, BE GRATEFUL SOME DOCTORS HAVE STAYED TO SORT OUT THIS PROBLEM THAT OTHERS HAVE MADE, I FOR ONE SAY THANK YOU TO THEM.

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  • Kent_Resident  |  November 08 2013, 4:03PM

    I hope somebody reports this surgery and all the problems to the Watchdog or BBC Watchdog programme as this has been going on here for years and must be stopped. It can only improve there if it has a complete change of Staff and Professionals. Patients cannot be expected to communicate with staff knowing that they abuse them behind their backs.

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  • Birchres  |  November 01 2013, 9:27AM

    Take note Roger Latchford ukip backed the campaign 100% Roger Fail our MP made no effort what so ever!!

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  • ladybird17  |  October 30 2013, 7:16PM

    Gosh, I wonder who is red arrowing the comments. Now let me think........

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  • viscountdrive  |  October 30 2013, 2:16PM

    This is disgraceful.The surgery is doing its best to improve but they cannot continue to employ staff with such an attitude. The offending staff must be sacked, a warning is not good enough.

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  • ladybird17  |  October 29 2013, 2:56PM

    This is BMC's answer to appeasing the very disgruntled majority of the local community is it? I certainly agree that they have "attitude" down there -there's more "attitude" than there is staff. I find it truly shocking that the ONLY GP Surgery in Birchington can allow itself to sink to such depths. It speaks volumes that they don't even possess the competence to make such a disparaging Facebook page private - dread to think what else they can't do properly. This is a gross breach of trust and confidence. Shameful.

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  • birchresident  |  October 29 2013, 11:51AM

    Me and my family use this joke of a place, we have seen its decline in the last few years and its not been the same since Dr Garland left. I remember my mum having to nearly plan when she was going to be ill! it felt like that anyway because they have a weird booking system and my mum has to explain all her serious illnesses to a jumped up receptionist who shouldnt ask! its private!. On many ocassions my mum has had to fight her way to get tablets that she needs for everyday life! sometimes she runs out and has to be quite forceful with these morons to get what she needs. She has booked in to see a doc in the next couple of days which is good and I believe it was booked in by a younger receptionist yet if she gets lumbered with the other older receptionist all of a sudden you have to wait a week or sometimes two weeks so I think they just make it up as it goes along. The centre has gone down hill so bad and I hope these cretins who have been talking about patients on facebook get severely reprimanded because this is not how you run a doctors surgery. If they cannot do their job properly can I have it? Im unemployed and would love to be doing their job and would do it 100 times better. This place needs a revamp of staff and docs so that it can improve or else patients will go elsewhere. I'm glad I'm relatively healthy and never go here but my mum isn't very well and struggles on regardless and she is sick and tired of the poor service this so called surgery gives. Buck up your ideas BMC, or you will lose all your patients.

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  • 27srb  |  October 28 2013, 10:41PM

    This Is no surprise. It sums up the lack of professional attitude and incompetence that patients at BMC have had to put up with for a number of years. Unfortunately for my family this incompetence led to the premature death of my father. Sadly I am sure we are not the only ones who have suffered in this way and unless you get rid of the incompetent staff and doctors we won't be the last. Perhaps there should be a proper investigation into this practice beyond that of admin issues with some proper penalties for those who are found to have failed patients and their families.

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  • Frosty's Tree Surgery  |  October 28 2013, 5:56PM

    Interesting how the mutinous witch hunt by said patients, members of the public and do-gooders has now turned on the staff. How about the lack of adequate funding for a high use area practice, what about the part time attitude of the doctors who own and earn from the practice? What attitude is fostered by the benefitting partners, that encourages this level of professional behaviour in the staff? Once again the mob bullies prevail. Succeeding in steering away from the real issues, and allowing scapegoats to be produced. Well done once again, bullying mob do-gooders. The staff are as good as the current leadership, who allow the staff to take the flack in order to preserve their own interests. Good job do-gooders!!!!!

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  • Redilma  |  October 28 2013, 1:16PM

    Completely unprofessional and unacceptable. Shocks me that these idiots were ever able to get jobs working in this field! I'd say they deserve to lose their jobs. Working with the public can be difficult at times, but if you are going to approach problems in such a petty and childish manner you shouldn't be in such an important position. I'm sure plenty of other people who are desperately looking for work would jump at the opportunity to do the job properly.

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