A sick grandfather struggled for two weeks to get a GP appointment – then collapsed five hours before he was due to see the doctor.

Bank worker David Marsden, 64, who had difficulty passing urine and needs an operation, repeatedly rang his Mirfield surgery but found the lines jammed.

When he did get through he was told all the appointments had gone.

That went on for two weeks until he finally secured an appointment for 3.55pm on Thursday.

However David, who feared he had a urine infection, collapsed at work at 11am and was rushed to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield where he was admitted.

The Examiner reported last month how patients at the same practice, Mirfield Health Centre, had complained of problems getting an appointment.

The practice, one of the biggest in Kirklees with 17,000 patients, currently has just four doctors.

David’s wife Imelda, 67, a nurse in Dewsbury for almost 30 years, said people needed to expose what was going on in the NHS.

Thousands of patients throughout the country had reported similar complaints and Mrs Marsden said: “It breaks my heart to see the state of the GP service.

“It simply can’t go on like this. I just wonder how many other people are having the same experience as we’ve had but are too afraid to speak out.

“You hear about patients who have complained being struck off doctors’ lists but people need to know.”

Mr Marsden, who works for a bank in Normanton, has urethral stenosis, a narrowing of the urine tube, and is on a waiting list for surgery.

Two weeks ago he began to feel unwell, complaining of shivers and fever. He tried to get an appointment but they had always been snapped up.

“When it was really hot last week he was icy cold and we thought he had a urine infection,” said Mrs Marsden.

“He has been finding it difficult to pass water and was getting up 20 times a night.”

Mr Marsden, who has a daughter Catherine, 28, and two grandchildren aged four and two, insisted on going to work and collapsed the day of the appointment.

Colleagues dialled 999 and he was rushed to hospital. He was admitted overnight and returned home on Friday with a catheter inserted.

He was told he will have surgery within seven days.

After she was told of her husband’s collapse, Mrs Marsden rang the surgery to cancel the appointment and tell them what had happened.

“I told the receptionist we had been trying to get an appointment for a fortnight and she just said it was ‘procedure’ and that made me really cross. It’s just not good enough.”

Mrs Marsden contacted Dewsbury and Mirfield Tory MP Simon Reevell who took up her complaint.

One of the practice partners, Dr Milos Lukic, who Mrs Marsden knew well from her time as a nurse, then rang her. “It was an apology after a fashion,” said Mrs Marsden.

Dr Pitt Pieske, senior partner at Mirfield Health Centre.
Dr Pitt Pieske, senior partner at Mirfield Health Centre.
 

Senior partner Dr Pitt Pieske told the Examiner he could not comment in detail on individual cases due to patient confidentiality but said he was “very sorry we were unable to provide a better service.”

Dr Pieske said two GPs had retired this year and two more were on maternity leave. Two newly-qualified doctors had been recruited and would start this month.

“Things will improve in the next week but we have had just four doctors, sometimes just three and on Friday only two doctors,” he said.

“It’s a national problem. The other week I was reading about a practice in Kent where the doctors just walked out.”