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No excuse for IMH

Your report (SA, Feb 4) about the IMH call centre fiasco (with patients waiting for more than an hour to get through to someone to make an appointment to see a doctor) and its CEO’s ‘explanation’ and apology, together with the CCG’s comments, demonstrate the sheer incompetence of modern ‘management’ of the NHS.

They seem to be unable to act to correct something that is fundamentally wrong, unacceptable and potentially dangerous.

It is no excuse to say that IMH’s “modelling” did not show “unmet demand”; or that “demand outstripped our modelling”.

Why? It is well-known that the whole of the NHS, including general practice, is under severe strain because demand exceeds supply.

Did they not visit the GP practices concerned to ‘find out’ what the situation was before creating their ‘model’?

It is also no excuse to say that the call centre was understaffed due to staff sickness (under half of the planned 16 was discovered by Swindon Healthwatch).

Every organisation has staff sickness at this time of year; so contingency plans should be in place to deal with it – such as managers working ‘on the front line’ or the use of agency staff.

The CCG’s ‘apology’ and statement that they are “working as hard as we can with IMH to put things right”, coupled with them “having a learning event” to discover “what went wrong and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again”, is hardly reassuring! Both the causes and the remedy are obvious. The CCG is responsible for giving IMH the contract which they are not fulfilling to a safe standard.

They should be looking to terminate the contract unless the failures are put right within a matter of days – patients can’t wait even longer while they have their meetings!

Malcolm Morrison, Retired orthopaedic surgeon, Prospect Hill, Swindon

We were all lied to in the referendum

Re Alan Spencer’s letter (SA, Feb 6). He asks what lies were told by the leave campaign.

1. Boris Johnson stated - Turkey with a population of 76 million is joining the EU and they will all be entitled to come here. False! Then he went on to say he would help Turkey to join the EU.

2. Once we have settled our accounts we will take back control of £350k per week for the NHS. Not true.

3. We were told by the leave campaign ‘it is a vote for freedom’, which in fact will be the opposite and put our freedom in the hands of the politicians and the rich and institutions like the NHS will be sold off to the highest bidder.

4. The true facts about the Northern Ireland border was not mentioned in the run up to the referendum.

There has to be a border between an EU and an non EU state and it will cause untold hardship to workers, farmers and children going to school and will affect the peace and prosperity that the Irish have enjoyed for the past 20 years.

5. Since 2016 Liam Fox has been harping on about all the trade deals we will have ready when we crash out of the EU on March 29.

He has flown thousands of miles around the world at a high cost to the public purse and how many deals has he signed? NONE.

It is inevitable that we can look forward to having chlorinated chicken and hormone injected beef on our shelves when he signs trade deals with America and Argentina.

Patrick O’Shea, Highworth

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