St Leonards woman ‘unable to get GP notes for dying mum’

Essenden Road surgery, St Leonards. SUS-160806-133634001
Essenden Road surgery, St Leonards. SUS-160806-133634001

A woman has expressed her anger at a GP surgery after she could not get hold of them in order to get her dying mother’s medical notes.

Surel Thomas’ mother, Mary Lancaster, was hospitalised seven weeks ago.

On Tuesday (January 10) she was discharged to a nursing home and her family was warned she may only have three months to live.

Ms Thomas says both she and the home have struggled to get her mother’s medical notes from the Essenden Road Surgery in St Leonards, despite repeated phonecalls and emails.

She said: “The nursing home have been phoning and phoning and emailing them.

“The sister in charge, the management, have phoned me and said they cannot access them because they cannot get through.”

Mrs Lancaster, a former nurse, is suffering from serious heart failure and is severely jaundiced. She was even given the last rites in the Conquest over Christmas.

Her daughter said: “She’s in agony. They need her history.”

She added: “The sister phoned me this morning and said she had not seen anything like it in her life.”

On Wednesday, Ms Thomas drove to the surgery twice only to find it shut.

Ms Thomas, of Hythe Avenue, previously contacted the Observer in June last year to highlight problems she experienced in getting an appointment at the surgery.

Ms Thomas, who suffers with serious back problems, claimed she had to wait more than two months for an appointment.

She said: “It’s really hard to get an appointment. When you phone them up they are never there.

“This is totally, totally unacceptable. If this was any other country we would be doing our nut. Theresa May is trying to say there is not a problem with the health service, but there is.”

But Ms Thomas praised staff at the nursing home and ‘could not fault’ her mother’s care at the Conquest.

A spokesperson from the Hastings and Rother CCG said: “We are sorry that Ms Thomas has had difficulty in contacting her mother’s GP practice. The practice in question is closed for face-to-face patient appointments on Wednesday afternoons, but telephone access should still be available. We have spoken to the practice and they are checking that their phone system is working correctly.

“There is also a special ‘bypass’ number for nursing homes to use if they require urgent information.”

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