THE issues raised by Lisa Carswell are not new - they have plagued Integrated Medical Holdings since the company took over five Swindon practices last September.

Bosses apologised and blamed a technical glitch with their phone hub system for the problems experienced by patients who struggled to book appointments with their GPs through a new central phone hub for the Taw Hill, Eldene and Phoenix surgeries and the Abbey Meads and Moredon medical centres.

Dr Martyn Diaper said in April: “Our modelling didn’t tell us about unmet demand at the practices and that demand outstripped our modelling when we took over the appointments system. It’s not been good enough. We are sorry.”

The Care Quality Commission and the Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group urged the company to make improvements after Moredon Medical Centre was placed in special measures in January and Taw Hill Medical Practice received a Requires Improvement rating two months later.

Protestors held demonstrations outside Moredon Medical Centre to draw attention to the ongoing issues which, it has been claimed, were putting lives at risk

In late May, the CCG announced that IMH would be withdrawing from running the services but would stay until a replacement arrangement was found.

The group said in a statement: “The CCG fully acknowledges that the past nine months have been a difficult time for patients and we would like to thank the people of Swindon for their continued patience and understanding.”

In the meantime, experienced GPs known as GP supporters have been drafted in to work with each of the IMH-linked practices to offer leadership support and review critical correspondence - but taxpayers will pick up the tab.