Dr David H Jones, the chief medical officer at IMH Group, told the Adver "lessons had been learned" over the IMH phone fiasco.

Swindon Borough Councillors have called for an urgent investigation from the CCG into the administration of five IMH-run surgeries in North Swindon.

Since October patients have battled with hour-long delays on the phone just to book appointments.

In response to the council Dr Jones has said: "IMH has been working with GP practices in Swindon since early 2017 and has undertaken considerable work in conjunction with the dedicated staff of these practices, both clinical and administrative, with a common goal of ensuring access to safe and effective care for the residents of Swindon.

"This is reflected in the positive CQC results achieved across Abbey Meads Medical Centre, Phoenix Surgery and Eldene Surgery during 2018, which were testament to the hard work of everyone involved.

"We are immensely proud to be a part of some of the positive changes for the people of Swindon, but also fully appreciate that there are things we must continue to work on and improve.

"The decision of the practices to unify their efforts was not one that was taken lightly.

"This project is by far the most ambitious we and the clinical partners of the surgeries have embarked upon and was commenced with a view to providing long-term sustainability for the practices in a time of uncertainty and ever-increasing strain on primary care services across the country.

"We are not infallible and there have been important lessons learned over the last few months, but we reaffirm that we are 100 per cent committed to this project with our GP partners to safeguard the care of the 53,000 patients who are relying on us to get this right.

"We continue to review and act upon patient feedback to refine the telephone system, as well working with the practices to bolster clinical staffing and appoint additional pharmacists to further improve handling of prescriptions.

"We have had a number of positive attendances at the hub by local politicians over the preceding weeks and remain actively engaged with the Patient Participation Group.

"The comments of Councillors Renard and Heenan are acknowledged, and we will continue to cooperate fully and work closely with Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group and other third-party stakeholders, as evidenced by our scheduled upcoming attendance at the council’s committee meeting.