Islanders Give Their Views On Health Services

St Mary's Health Centre

Islanders like the friendliness of the staff at the Health Centre but they’re worried about the future of the GP practice and unhappy about the access to optician services.

That’s the finding of a major survey by the health watchdog LINK.

14% of island homes replied to the questionnaire and 1082 comments were logged.

Carol Clark from LINK says that putting issues on paper has really made the various health agencies ‘sit up and listen’.

This year, the survey limited comments to services that people had actually received in the past twelve months.

Carol told us that the GP practice, pharmacy, dental service and hospital all got positive comments.

Carol Clark from LINK

However, the provision of opticians services had the most grumbles. Carol said there seems to be room for improvement here and recommendations have been made to change the contract with Specsavers, adding in a minimum level of delivery that will be expected.

People were also concerned about the future of the GP service on the islands.

Although the local PCT has asked for tenders for a one year contract – and a preferred bidder identified – a contract has not yet been finalised yet.

The NHS is looking to offer only a short contract for the GP practice because they want to change the way things are done in St Mary’s Health Centre. That could mean a heightened role for the Council in healthcare.

Carol told us that the PCT is reviewing how the GP service is delivered on the islands and wants to consult with other providers and the public to create a long term blueprint, hopefully within the next few months.

She added that Scilly is unique in the UK, having a GP service that also covers hospital and emergency services with the longest on-call hours.

One of the biggest improvements since the last survey has been the timing of out patient appointments on the mainland, and Carol thinks this may be down to the new service, where someone calls the patient to offer several alternative dates.