Doctor claims NHS treated Storrington staff ‘unfairly’

JPCT 030614 S14230520x Storrington. Mill Stream Medical Centre. Locum doctor Charles Wood -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140306-161126001
JPCT 030614 S14230520x Storrington. Mill Stream Medical Centre. Locum doctor Charles Wood -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140306-161126001

A former doctor of closed Mill Stream Medical Centre said the staff have been ‘unfairly treated’ and the reasons for its closure were ‘spurious’.

Dr Charles Wood is a locum (temporary staff) doctor who worked at Storrington’s Mill Stream Medical Centre for two years, which was closed by the NHS on May 31 in a shock decision that has left patients looking for a new surgery.

He said: “I feel the staff have been very unfairly treated.”

Last month, a series of questions posed by South Downs MP Nick Herbert were submitted to NHS England on behalf of patients of the surgery.

In response, NHS England revealed that Mill Stream Medical Centre failed to replace ‘vital broken equipment’ and samples from patients were ‘not appropriately stored’.

Dr Wood said the claims left him ‘outraged’.

“The reasons given for the enforced closure were, in my opinion, spurious in the extreme,” he said.

“When the statement from NHS England was published in the County Times I was outraged that the Local Area Team would add insult to the injury caused to the staff by implying that they were party to unsafe practices and putting their patients at risk.

“Not only is this very upsetting for the staff but also has jeopardised their prospects of future employment.”

Mill Stream staff were given less than four weeks notice to find alternative employment, which Dr Wood believes was ‘unnecessary’.

Dr Wood continued: “There were monthly visits from the Local Area Team and I do not believe they found anything that could be considered a danger to the patients. If they had they would, quite rightly, have closed the surgery down much sooner.

“It now turns out that the specific allegations of a failure to replace broken equipment and mishandling of samples were a complete misreading of the minutes of a clinical meeting and a total failure to make sure of the facts before making a public statement.

“The equipment in question was a defibrillator owned by the First Response Team and not Mill Stream surgery, and the problem with the alleged mishandling of samples was a discussion of how to make this more secure even than it was.”

The County Times put Dr Wood’s claims to NHS England (Surrey and Sussex). In response, a spokesman said: “We have been in touch with Dr Wood and would like to extend our thanks to all the staff and locums that have worked at the Mill Stream practice.

“Since March 2013 Mill Stream has been staffed by fully qualified GPs who have given patients their best possible care.

“The decision to close the practice in no way reflects on their hard work, clinical expertise and dedication.”