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Sheffield Local Issues: Sheffield NHS Darnall Community Health, UK GP Patient Survey Results

The latest results for the Department of Health Funded UK GP Survey have been recently released that cover the 4 quarters for September 2010. The survey features more than 5.5 million detailed questionnaires being sent out to NHS GP patients across England of which 2.06 million were returned. For the city of Sheffield a total of 67,842 questionnaires were sent out to the patients of Sheffield's 91 GP surgeries of which 26,865 were returned from which detailed results were compiled as listed in the table at the end of this article for the overall level of satisfaction at the quality of health care received for all of Sheffield's GP surgeries.

Sheffield's Top 5 GP Surgeries

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  Level of Satisfaction

The results show that Sheffield's best performing Surgeries continue to cluster in the affluent areas of the city, which is reflective of the 'post code lottery' where those that reside in the affluent wards due to more likely being professionals are able to demand a better quality of NHS GP services than those that tend to reside in the deprived wards who tend to suffer in silent as to what passes for health care provision which plays a significant part in contributing to a more than 14 YEAR GAP IN LIFE EXPECTANCY between peoples living just a few miles distance from one another, which has been commented upon in the past by the Sheffield MP and Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg :

"It is an outrage that social mobility has slowed, not increased, under the Blair-Brown years. It is an outrage that in Sheffield, where I’m an MP, life expectancy in the poorest wards is a full 14 years below the life expectancy of those living in the wealthiest wards. Your life chances are now set by the circumstances of your birth as never before."

Sheffield's Bottom 5 GP Surgeries

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  Level of Satisfaction  


Darnall Community Health continued to languish firmly at the bottom of Sheffield's 91 GP surgeries with a continuing widening of the gap against Sheffield's other GP surgeries as other bottom ranking surgeries improve, DCH shows a further decline on this measure from the 2009-10 GP Survey (68%).

Darnall Community Health GP Patient Survey Results - Detailed Analysis

Satisfaction with overall care

Despite all of the PCT's promises, the above graph illustrates DCH's continuous deterioration in the quality of service delivery as experienced by patients. Therefore the conclusion is that the pen pushers at the PCT have done nothing for the past 2 years other than generate a lot of paper.

Ease of getting through on the phone

How can patients get to see a doctor when apparently the surgery staff most of the time cannot even be bothered to pick up the phone as evidenced by 75% of patients finding it difficult to get through to the surgery on the phone.

Booking ahead

Seeing a preferred doctor

NHS apologists constantly defend against NHS reforms by mentioning the doctor patient relationship, there is no doctor patient relationship as only 25% of patients have been able to see their preferred doctor at DCH.

The further survey results analysis can be viewed by clicking here. (PDF)

New Health Centre for Darnall, Sheffield

Sheffield PCT had already identified a year earlier the lack of performance and publicised a solution during mid 2009 for a new £5.5 million medical centre to be built under the NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) Development Scheme which is a private / public partnership that is tasked with dragging the NHS front line services into the 21st century by means of construction of new integrated one stop shop Super Surgeries premises along the lines of the 2009 unveiling of the City Centre GP Walk in Centre (Sheffield GP Super Surgery Polyclinic NHS Healthcare Centre). The plan was for building work to commence early 2010 and for the centre to open by early 2011.

Community 1st Sheffield (C1S) - 17th August 2009

The exciting plans for the proposed new Darnall Health Centre were unveiled in the existing surgery this week. Representatives from NHS Sheffield and Community 1st Sheffield were also on hand to speak to patients and local residents about the scheme and answer any questions.

The proposed new premises, which will be located on Main Road, Darnall, will replace the existing Darnall Community Health services in Darnall Road and York Road which have outgrown their premises as patient list sizes have grown.

The planned new state-of-the-art facility will house facilities for minor procedures, counselling and therapy services, physiotherapy, district nursing and health visiting, and Darnall well being service as well as GPs in a brand new purpose-built development.

The proposals are due to be submitted for planning by the end of August 2009 and, subject to the planning approval consent, it is anticipated that construction work will commence on the new premises in early 2010 with the building open to the public in early 2011.

However, by the time when new health new centre was scheduled to open and start treating / diagnosing patients, this is the sight which greets the people of Darnall are being presented with -

Probability now highly favours that the new Darnall Medical Centre is NOT going to be built as it is highly likely that the soon to be scrapped Sheffield PCT no longer has the budget or will to do so, instead the proposed centre plans can be deemed to have been permanently moth balled or scrapped.

Options for Patients

Sheffield PCT and the Strategic Health Authority have let the people of Darnall down, who would have continued to suffer in silence were it not for the UK GP Patient Survey. Possible options for patients of Sheffield's and other cities bottom ranking GP surgeries are :

1. Stay with current GP surgery and continue to suffer in silence.

2. Attempt to move to another better ranking nearby GP surgery (see table below), though as there is no competition for patients then it is highly likely that patients will be prevented from doing so.

3. Pay for Private GP services - Though now the patient is being forced to pay TWICE for healthcare, once through taxes and then again privately.

4. Obtain a copy of your full medical records and attempt self diagnoses and treatment, yes it is completely outrageous that patients should be forced to diagnose and treat themselves, but that is what happens when you have a healthcare monopoly that has long since forgotten why it was created in the first place. In this respect GP surgeries 'should' comply with the data protection act by on request sending you a copy of your medical records within 42 days, though that does not mean that a bottom ranking GP surgery will comply with this deadline which is indicative of its general level of competency.

People should also take greater responsibility for their health, rather than put their lives into the hands of an increasingly dysfunctional NHS, they can achieve this by means of weight control and a personal fitness regime.

By Nadeem Walayat

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