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Disgraceful situation

I am writing, in some desperation, to gain knowledge, on how to book an appoint with my doctor.

The norm is you ring the surgery and they give you an appointment, when one is available, and if not able then you are sent either to the Penhill surgery, or the Abbey Meads one.

Since this Tuesday, I have been ringing for such an appointment, with no luck at all. On Tuesday, I was given the option of a ring back call, when I was ‘number one’ in the queue. When they rang, both times, all I got was playback music, and a recorded voice saying they were still very busy, so both times after about five minutes I rang off.

No luck either Wednesday or Thursday, so today I thought I would ring and wait, which I did. After about 31 minutes, I rang off and went down to the surgery. There was a young lady, asking for an appointment today, due to the pain she had, but no appointments at all today, so was told to go to the hospital.

I explained about my telephone calls, and the receptionist said that all calls now go to a central hub and they had no control of them. I asked who was going to pay for my two ring back calls or the 31 min call today; no answer. I told them and the young lady that if I went out in the street and was run down by a bus, I would see a doctor quicker.

If every surgery is now sending patients to the hospital, no wonder they are under a strain. Is this now the norm for the NHS in Swindon? If so, what an absolute disgrace.

T Reynolds, Wheeler Avenue, Swindon

Bad manners

I am writing to you as I am interested to find out if any other reader has had a similar experience to my own with the Swindon Dental Practice attached to Great Western Hospital.

On two consecutive weeks I have had my appointment at the clinic cancelled at the last moment.

I do not live in Swindon and as I am fairly disabled I am unable to use public transport easily. Therefore, I have to pay for a taxi which costs me £15 per journey.

I received a text from the practice at 11.15am when I was in the taxi. My appointment was 11.30am. Naturally I had to pay for this journey although I had no appointment.

The following Friday my appointment was also at 11.30 am. Having experienced problems the previous week, I took the trouble to contact the practice on the Thursday afternoon to confirm that my appointment was still happening. I was assured that it was. However, when I arrived at the clinic I was informed that the dentist was not in work that morning and my appointment was cancelled. I had had no previous notification of this cancellation. Again, I had had to pay for the taxi for both journeys. Needless to say, I am now seriously out of pocket and this is something I am ill-able to afford.

My main complaint is not the cancellation of the appointments but the fact that I had not been informed in reasonable time on either occasion. I consider this not only bad manners but bad practise.

Name and address supplied

A happy Halloween

I just wanted to say to all the children who knocked on my door tonight for trick or treat how polite and friendly you all were and you all said thank you, which so many children don’t anymore.

Your costumes were great. Your mums and dads must be very proud of you.

Please come again next year, and l hope the lovely little bat has a very happy birthday on Saturday.

Jackie Challis, Fairford Crescent, Swindon

How much?!

Last week India inaugurated the world’s tallest statue, an effigy of independence hero Vallabhbhai Patel that towers nearly twice the height of New York’s Statue of Liberty.

The 182-metre (597-ft) steel and bronze “Statue of Unity”, in the prime minister’s western home state of Gujarat, is part of his Hindu nationalist party’s efforts to re-brand what it calls “forgotten” leaders.

The cost of this work of art was a staggering £314,024,000 which given that substantial real as opposed to relative poverty is prevalent in many Indian states, would appear to many to be unwarranted and unnecessary.

UK taxpayers may also bridle at the fact India has spent so much on an effigy especially as UK foreign aid payments to India, which totalled £150 million in 2017 have continued in spite of Indian leaders stating they have no need of such assistance.

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive, Swindon

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