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New £2.1m GP practice stands empty after BT phoneline fiasco

A GP practice has been forced to delay the opening of new £2.1m premises and re-open their old branch because of problems getting phonelines installed.

The Beacon Medical Practice in Devon was due to open on 8 June but was forced to cancel an opening ceremony, rearrange countless patient appointments and make last minute arrangements to re-open their old branch a week after it closed as a result of the problems setting up the installation.

The practice placed the orders for new systems with BT in April, but it has only just received a provisional date for installation of 3 July, and it is unclear when it will be able to open after then.

Dr Duncan Hall, partner at the Sid Valley Practice which is moving into the new premises, told Pulse the problems were down to telecoms giant BT dragging its heels and that the delays had caused ‘total chaos’.

Dr Hall said: ‘We still have no operational telephone line coming into the new surgery. We have to use a company, South West Communications, and they are at the mercy of BT – they say they can’t escalate anything because BT won’t.’

He added: ‘It’s been total chaos – we basically had everything booked and now we have had the opening ceremony cancelled, and all the patient appointments have been mucked up. We are able to stay in our current premises but it’s caused havoc.’

Dr Hall said he wanted other GPs potentially planning to develop new premises to be forewarned about the potential delay.

He said: ‘There’s lots of other practices potentially doing GP development and quite clearly this is a warning they need to get things worked out way in advance.’

Practice manager Emma Vigurs said: ‘Obviously a great deal went in to the organisation for the opening that was due on the 8 June.  With the delay with BT works we then had to use an enormous amount of man hours to cancel all the preparation which has a huge impact on patients, re-arranging their appointments back, the practice and outside contractors that we had in place to assist with the move.’

Ms Vigurs added: ‘We re-opened our branch surgery after one week of closure so that we can still provide a high standard of service to our patients… at present we’ve not put in a definite move date until we know of more definitive date about the BT job for the phone lines for the surgery.’

BT was unable to comment at the time of publication, but said it was investigating the situation at Beacon Medical Practice urgently.


Readers' comments (10)

  • Obviously the tone of the article is that it is 'someone else's fault' rather than the practice but in my world we know BT is we plan around it. Amateurish practice management is to blame

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  • totally unacceptable - send in CQC and shut it down as i'm sure it's breached a tick box.

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  • What would you know 5:04 pm???

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  • 5:04 - seems to be another troll who signed on as 'other healthcare provider' - ibet cares about sanitation levels in WC because comment level reflects s***t

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  • and they try and f..up and then do it again with intention etc etc..but...a F*ck- up
    even and certainly so if you spell it f-£££££-up£££
    andf no it is not a 'SEP'--that stands for
    'Somebodyelesesproblem' if I do remember correctly

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  • Sorry folks, but I'm with 5:04 on this. 8 weeks is pretty tight on anything that is so mission critical.

    And if this is so key, why is anything else being planned without a clear and certain date on it? Decent project management works around the critical path - ie what is essential for this to be useable - let's make sure that is in place first.

    - ps. for credentials I'm a PM who has dealt with 2 (soon to be 3) major premises projects, and worked in project management.

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  • Got a BT dongle as part of my package. Used it for 3 days - the bill- a whopping £388 punds.
    Billing for GPRS use £12 per hour with same seconds billed twice at £2.01 each.
    Called BT and informed that they would send an explanation.
    Instead of this explanation, reeived a copy of the same bill again .....and there is a charge for a second copy:) Can't beat them. Common sense tells you to boycott BT.
    Pity the Practice if it is delay caused by BT, but then on a venture like this perhaps one would have been more cautious about the logistics.

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  • 8 weeks to flick a few switches?!

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  • Yes BT system is madness. Always had problems with them. Once it was so bad, I got a F&M's hamper from them as a goodwill jesture. Now that's what I call bad.

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  • You should have tried BT before it was privatised. Believe me, what's been described here is NOTHING compared to what used to be. It could easily take 18 months for a single home phone line to be installed.

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