A PATIENT who suffers mental health issues is ‘frightened’ to ring up her surgery after struggling to get an appointment with a GP for weeks.

Irene Tucker has anxiety, depression and fibromyalgia, a long-term illness causing pain in every part of her body. She told the Adver that she takes lot of medication and needs to see a doctor on a regular basis.

But since IMH took over Moredon Medical Centre, the 52-year-old has been struggling to see a doctor.

She said: “I'm too frightened to pick up the phone because I’m waiting for an hour before being told that they have no appointments left.

"Sometimes I can’t even go out of bed because I am in so much pain. My mental health is going down because I can’t see a GP. And because I’m waiting on the phone, I get even more anxious.

“I got to wait for weeks. I’m lucky that I’m actually still alive because it got so bad and it is making us all suffer.”

Irene does not go out very often to reduce the risk of getting an infection.

She said: “If I get an infection what am I going to do if I’m not able to see a doctor?”

She regrets the lack of continuity with the same doctor. She said: “I went away to my son’s wedding, and when I came back I was told my doctor left. I can’t see a random doctor because by the time you have talked about everything that is wrong with you, your time’s up and you have got to go out."

Irene added: “I’ll feel that something is being done when IMH is gone and it gets back to what it used to be.”

A CCG spokesman said: “Never has the CCG been complacent at how the recent issues with GP practices have affected patients, and we sincerely apologise for any upset, worry or anxiety caused by the problems inherited from the previous provider.

“In recent months, the CCG has been working simultaneously to support these practices – including Moredon Medical Centre – to continue providing safe care and treatment, and to identify a new local, NHS-based provider.

“When these providers come on board, which we expect to be before the end of the year, the priority will be for patient calls to no longer be diverted to the call centre, but answered by staff in the practices. We hope this will alleviate the issues people are still experiencing.”