Public Forum Hears Patient Feedback
Some patients asked about GP services in a Question Time-style conference claimed they had previously suffered racial prejudice.
Members of the public were invited to the feedback session at Tothill Community Centre in association with Plymouth Link.
A GP and a practice manager joined a primary care director, project manager and patient involvement leader to form the panel, chaired by Nigel Halford, chief executive of Tamar Science Park.
Some audience members said surgery receptionists they had encountered in the past had been rude or aggressive, with racial prejudice offered as one underlying reason.
Other patients claimed being assertive about their needs had backfired on them, with one woman saying she moved surgery to get a better service.
GP Dr Peter Rudge urged patients to remain assertive about their healthcare, saying: "A lot of people don't realise that it's now easier to move practices than it was, but it is just not acceptable getting different responses from different places.
"If we got rid of practice boundaries today, I would encourage you all [the audience] to move, then we would soon find out where the bad practices were."
Public and patient involvement lead Sally Parker said race awareness training was available for all surgery staff and practice manager Linda Trebilcock added: "If people have issues with reception staff, they should ask to speak to the practice manager who should be happy to talk to you."
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Kate Easy from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "It is refreshing to see primary care services seeking feedback from the local community. Irwin Mitchell Solicitors know from what our clients tell us that improved communication with GPs and front line healthcare providers could make a real difference for patients."