Mother’s ‘disgust’ after struggle for Rustington GP appointment

L06266H14-EastStSurgery''GV of Arun Medical Group, East Street, Littlehampton. ENGSUS00120141102180033
L06266H14-EastStSurgery''GV of Arun Medical Group, East Street, Littlehampton. ENGSUS00120141102180033

A mother has described her ‘disgust’ at a GP practise after struggling to get her ill 11-year-old son an appointment.

Vikki Bulezuik, of Harsfold Road, Rustington, said Arun Medical Group ‘failed at their duty of care’ after the practice was ‘closed for training’ on October 14.

Ms Bulezuik said her son’s father had tried to call the practice four times after their son woke in pain, but the calls were not answered.

When she tried again later, she was told the surgery was ‘closed for training’ and to call back the next day.

In a letter to Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Ms Bulezuik wrote: “I complained and the receptionist said the doctor would call me after 5pm, this never happened. Shortly after calling your practice I called Westcourt to see if they could see my son as a temporary patient. I was greeted with a recorded message saying, they were closed for training and to call 111.”

Ms Bulezuik called 111 who had ‘no information’ about the training and made attempts to contact another three practices in the area.

In the letter, Ms Bulezuick, had to arrange cover for her other three children, who have autism, and get her son – who was becoming increasingly unwell – to hospital.

She added: “I am utterly disgusted by the lack of care from Arun Medical group towards my son, your failings I believe have resulted in my 11 year old son, suffering unnecessarily.”

Arun Medical Group has apologised for the ‘distress and anxiety’ caused to Ms Bulezuick and said patient care is their ‘absolute priority’.

A spokeswoman for Arun Medical Group said: “We understand Mrs Bulezuik contacted a number of different organisations and did not find it easy to access the help that she needed for her son, and for that we are very sorry.”

She added mandatory training is ‘very important’ for GPs, who take minimal time away from providing patient care, adding telephone cover is put in place with urgent calls being put through to on-call GPs.

Dr David Whitehead, clinical director at the CCG, said a formal investigation has been carried out and services will do their ‘very best’ to make sure the experience is not repeated. He added: “Mrs Bulezuik tried a number of local health services to try and get help for her son, and struggled at each service, and for this we apologise.”

Lorraine Gray, Interim Chief Executive at IC24, which runs NHS 111 care coordination centres, said: “We would like to apologise for any upset caused to Mrs Bulezuik. We work very closely with our commissioners and our practices to ensure that we provide a good service to our patients.

“However, we are sorry again that Mrs Bulezuik had difficulty accessing primary care and we will work with our colleagues across the health care economy to learn from this and put processes in place to improve.”

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