A MALDON man has hit out at his surgery after he was told he would be better off going to A&E with a minor complaint.

A patient of Longfield Medical Surgery, on Princes Road, Maldon, was told that he may be able to get treatment quicker if he attended Broomfield Hospital, after no appointments were available to him.

The patient was hoping to see a doctor about a minor complaint with his back and shoulder, but was instead directed to A&E.

The advice comes as hospital leaders are encouraging patients with minor ailments to visit minor injury units or pharmacies.

The surgery, which has closed its books temporarily along with Blackwater Medical Centre because of a staffing shortage since last July, said issues were exacerbated by people failing to turn up for appointments.

The patient said: “I was told the best thing to do would be to go to A&E, but we understand they are overstretched enough as it is and I did not feel comfortable going there for something like that.

“In the past I have had no problems with the surgery, but it seems like not they are under such a strain that it is getting to crisis point and to be palmed off to A&E with the pressures that are on that area of the service I don’t think is acceptable.”

The man had also been told he would have to wait more than a month to see a doctor for a review into medication he was receiving.

He added: “Every day I have tried to get an appointment and each time I have been told nothing is available.

“It means I am going to miss my review date which needed to be done, and that is going to have big impact on my ability to function and go to work.”

Practice manager David Barker said: “Unfortunately we have no control over patients booking an appointment and not turning up.

“Yesterday 26 patients failed to attend an appointment that they had booked. This equates to almost a whole day of GP time wasted.

“Those 26 appointments could have been effectively allocated to patients who needed them, if only the appointment had been cancelled.”