FRIST Defends Accuracy Of Report Highlighting Medical Problems

St Mary's Health Centre

St Mary’s Health Centre

The campaign group FRIST has been defending the accuracy of the data used in a report highlighting travel issues faced by islanders last winter, after claiming that flight disruption caused the cancellation of surgeries at St Mary’s Health Centre.

In the bulletin sent out to members this week, FRIST claims that the Health Centre had to close on the 14th November because there were no doctors on Scilly able to provide cover. They say they were told that two GPs waiting to fly in from the mainland, one waiting to fly out and one unable to work because they’d been on duty all night.

The report has been sent to senior policy makers, including local MP Andrew George.

But that allegation has been disputed by doctors.

Lead GP, Dr John Garman says there has clearly been a miscommunication because at no point over the winter has the Health Centre offered less than a full quota of doctors due to  weather.

He says on the day in question, he and Dr Hessing were due to fly to the mainland for a course and two doctors were flying in to cover them. As there was no flying they cancelled the course and worked as normal. All surgeries ran completely as planned that day, says John, including one on St Mary’s and one on St Martin’s.

FRIST advisory group member, Marian Bennett, defended the data, telling Radio Scilly that the report is accurate and she would “swear in a court of law on it.”

Marian claims she was informed by the Health Centre on the morning in question that they would be closed, but says the problem might have subsequently been resolved. And she admits she should have followed up afterwards to verify they did stop surgeries.

She’s since informed Dr Garman that she will remove that paragraph from the report.

Marian says all the information has come from actual islanders suffering real problems, even though their names have not been released, and she says some data wasn’t included because it couldn’t be verified.

The FRIST report highlights a number of problems faced by patients this winter, including the cancellation of 27 local clinics run by visiting consultants, people being placed at the bottom of hospital waiting lists because they missed appointments on the mainland and the high cost of taxi transfers from Newquay to Treliske.

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