IT’S that time of year when we are treated to the results of the results of the Warrington GP Patients Survey.

I am genuinely pleased for those in our community who are happy with the service they get from their doctors but as I am on the list of one of the surgeries that hasn’t performed quite so well over recent years, I find it interesting to see if the anecdotal tales of woe I hear all the time actually match the reality.

My surgery is Penketh Health Centre on Honiton Way. If you go back 12 months, it was next to bottom of the 28 surgeries in the town with just 69 per cent of patients rating the service as good or better.

But not to worry, we had the warm words of Dr Sangeetha Steevart, clinical lead for primary care at NHS Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group, who said last year: “We welcome the feedback from the GP Patient Survey.

“The results enable us to take our patients’ views into account for our future planning and strategy.

“In times of high demand for GP services we’re proud of the work our practices are doing to continuously drive forward improvements for the benefit of our town, and this is reflected in the areas that we have scored well in.

“We recognise that there are areas for improvement, where we have further work to do to ensure that people have timely access to primary care when needed.”

So, just what future planning and strategy have we seen given that the commissioning group recognises ‘there are areas for improvement’?

Well let’s fast forward to the results of this year’s survey shall we? Now while I accept some surgeries are going to be better than others, surely what every one of those practices should be looking to do is increase their individual rating score.

It was with bated breath I went down the 2019 survey results to find Penketh Health Centre. Surely it would have learned its lessons from last year and looked at its areas for improvement.

And there it was, right at the bottom of the list, named as the worst surgery in Warrington.

But what I find more disturbing is its satisfaction score. Remember that last year only 69 per cent of its patients thought it was good or better. So even though it came in last this year, surely its satisfaction score had improved.

Wishful thinking on my part as this year’s survey revealed 61 per cent of patients rated it good or better.

So what’s going wrong? The report does not reveal the reasons for the poor performance but I think maybe it might be a good idea if we were told. And what would be really good would be the publication of some kind of plan to improve Penketh Health Centre.

Just as a footnote, the survey measured other aspects of patient services including how easy residents found it to make an appointment at their practice.

Fairfield Surgery and Springfields Health Centre came out on top with each achieving satisfaction ratings of 88 per cent, while Penketh Health Centre came in last place with 40 per cent. There really are lessons to be learned here.

I told you so 

I hate it when smug people say ‘I told you so’.

But allow me to be one of those very people.

Plans to convert the old drill hall on Bath Street into a theatre have been scrapped after a survey (costing us, the council tax payers £18,000) revealed the anticipated original estimate of £5 million to do the work was way off the mark and the real costs were likely to be closer to £25 million.

Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden also admitted that even if the plan had gone ahead: “The revenue generated by the theatre would not cover operating costs.”

At this point, I only have one thing to say: I told you so.