Broken Willow

Fallen willow tree on the bank of a riverA recent Ipsos Mori survey on Hampshire GP surgeries revealed that residents least happy with GPs overall were those Fareham & Gosport Clinical Commissioning Group’s area, where the average satisfaction for surgeries was 75% – below Hampshire and national averages.

Top of the class in Hampshire is Petersfield’s West Meon Surgery with a 99% satisfaction rating. In summary of Hampshire surgeries’ ratings:

  •  35.5% achieved 90% and above.
  •  38.7% achieved 80-89%
  • 16.1% achieved 70-79%
  •  5.4% achieved 60-69%

Where was The Willow Group? 90th out of 93 – 4th from bottom at a miserable 59%.

The full table is available here→ .

So why is The Willow Group (a network of GP surgeries in Gosport that had caused problems for patients in the past, from “dodgy phone lines” to being unable to get an appointment) relevant to a blog relating to Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust?

Hidden away in a corner of The Willow Group’s web site:

“We are part of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Apparently, other GPs in the area were flooded with so many people wanting to change their practice that patients have been banned from doing so. In December 2018, it was reported that over 2,100 patients had transferred practices, putting a strain on the system. Two of eight practices in the town had already had to close their registration lists, as they struggled to cope with increasing numbers. Some residents believe that many transfers had been away from the Willow Group – Read more here→.

One has to ask why Southern Health – the ‘Broken Trust‘, with long-standing unresolved issues in its core specialism of mental health and learning disabilities – wants the added burden of a troublesome GP Practice Group.

Question Mark 2


Would it not be in everyone’s interest for Southern Health to dispose of the Willow Group to concentrate on its core business?

On the NHS ‘Reviews and Ratings‘ web site, the Willow Group is rated only two stars.  Comments here include [partly abbrev.]:




Emoticon face with symbols on mouth


“Receptionist rude and unhelpful, no dignity or respect for elderly patients.

“Visited in August 2019. Posted on 14 August 2019.”


“Every time I try to phone, I get put in a queue whilst I wait for my ‘care navigator’ … get bored and just go to surgery. Sometimes with a sick child strapped in a buggy, to cancel their jabs that week because, and this will tickle you, I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. Today’s debacle was the usual ‘you are P8 in the queue so I set about housework knowing this was going to be a long one. I got down to P3, the house was immaculate by now, when the phone just rung off. End of. Called back, P9. No way. I just wanted to book some jabs for my son. That’s all. 20 years ago it was a phone call and job done in 2 minutes tops. Visited in June 2019. Posted on 13 June 2019.”

“Left the surgery in tears!! The Dr I saw was very rude and made me feel like a failure!! I actually left his room in tears and the chemist arranged for someone to pick me up because I was so upset. Disgraceful considering I’m also depressed. Visited in May 2019. Posted on 19 June 2019.”

“My wife called surgery as requested was given an instruction that she would be called back with[in] 48 hours. Nothing heard from surgery. Called again and yet again told she would be contacted – still in pain still waiting for a reply. This service is disgraceful and needs fixing. So much for the promises of improvement given.
Visited in February 2019. Posted on 28 February 2019.”

Additional comments here, including the ‘Big Shoes’ story.  Interestingly, this website suggests that, in the Willow Group, out of 62 stories told, none have led to changes.

lack of freedom



Patient told by GP to buy bigger shoe!


“Partner just undergone complex surgery on foot which could have been avoided if doctors/staff had acted much sooner. She rarely visited a surgery but few years ago a foot began to swell and toe distended to one side. She visited Waterside only to be told by the GP to buy bigger shoe. This is the absolute truth! She came away appalled & dejected … the surgery should hang it’s head in shame.”

“For nearly 5 weeks I have been desperately trying for an appointment for a medical examination to renew my commercial drivers’ licence. I have been promised call backs, emails and nobody has contacted me to set up a time. My licence will expire in a couple of weeks and I will lose my job, but the Willow Group do not care. It is impossible to get through to speak to someone. On the times I have been into the surgeries to try and get the situation resolved, I am told by the reception staff that they don’t usually work there and they are not sure how it works…. They are going to cost me my job. As far as I can see, the Willow Group needs to get some staff that know what’s going on. At the moment, they are not fit for purpose.”

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