Birchington parents’ upset after failure to gain GP appointment leads to baby daughter being ‘blue-lighted’ to hospital

Bobby and Char with twins Aaliyah and Bella as babies

A Birchington couple have slammed a GP surgery after their young daughter had to be taken to hospital when they were unable to get a doctor’s appointment for her.

Bobby Wilson and Chardonnay Nicholson contacted Birchington Medical Centre on April 12th when 11 month old Aaliyah became ill with a high temperature.

But the couple say they were refused an appointment and in desperation they called 111 and were told to call back the GP and explain there was a duty of care due to the little one being under a year old and being born almost 12 weeks premature.

Bobby said: “We called the doctors back again and (reception) was very rude and told us we will not be seen and they do not have a duty of care.

“My daughter then began to struggle to breath and had a temperature of 39 leading to an ambulance blue lighting her to hospital.

“They told us if she hadn’t got to hospital in time she would probably have started fitting.”

Bobby, 19, and Chardonnay, 21, say both Aaliyah and her twin Bella have been poorly with chest infections and bronchiolitis.

Aaliyah was prescribed antibiotics and is now recovering but her parents say they should not have been left without care.

Bobby said: “They were quite rude and laughed at me when I asked whether I could even just have a phone call for advice. It was a real lack of care even though 111 told us the GP had to see our baby.”

Birchington Medical Centre has been run by Invicta Health CIC since April 2020. The CIC was formed in 2008 and operates a number of General Practices within the Romney Marsh, Dover, Birchington, Broadstairs and Ramsgate areas.

The company also manages other services including the Primary Care Mental Health Specialist service across east Kent and Swale.

A spokesperson for Invicta Health said: “We will contact the patient directly to discuss the concerns they have raised.”

NHS UK says: “Most GP surgeries are very supportive towards parents of small children. Some will fit babies into surgeries without an appointment or see them at the beginning of surgery hours. Many GPs will also give advice over the phone.”


  1. Thanks again to useless Conservative government a baby could have died. Thankfully the baby is now recovering.

  2. Good old Tory Britain! Destroying everything, everywhere they can. The country is on it’s knees because of them. Do either of our rubbish Tory MP’s have any comment to make?

    • RO – I doubt it to the likes of you rubbishing people! I bet you think things might get better with a change of Government?

      • Haha, so you think another Tory government is just what this country needs as we are in such a good place now thanks to them aren’t we. Only a complete moron would defend the current government, they are the worst we have ever had in the history of this country, even the old school Torries from the 80’s & 90’s say so!

        • This almost certainly has nothing to do with Tory government (unless Sunak is working part-time as a receptionist at a Thanet GP practice), and everything to do with a rude and incompetent local employee. I hope she’s fired.

  3. Forgot politics, for bit ,yes blame the government,but what about those doctors at the surgery, doing nothing, and the bad receptionist ‘s there,acting out of their remit.If the story is accurate the receptionist should be sacked.Hope baby is doing well

  4. This is the GP practice that I belong to, and some (not all!) of the receptionists there are absolutely vile! A shame, because if you can get past them, the staff are excellent.

  5. I hope the surgery staff are not reading this Ms Pink
    Spending on the NHS has fallen since 2010, even allowing for the recent increase in spending.
    GP surgeries are small businesses and some of them were bought by American healthcare companies so some of the trouble lies there. I thought you lot were voting reform so why worry about Sunak? He will be fine, when he buggers off to California not paying his taxes.

    • I hope that they ARE!

      I also hope that the person responsible is sacked. Next time could be too late.

      As for Reform, I’ve never said and never would vote for them.

  6. Remember like your kids they get to choose your care home and the best thing is never to darken their doors unless it is absolutely necessary.
    As for Reform yes you intimated giving them your vote, but either way who cares the mo is flowing in the other direction and there is nothing that Sunak can do about it.
    Like many, I am not enamoured by any of them, but reluctantly it will be anyone but Mackinlay.

    • You’re a liar. I’ve never mentioned Reform on here or anywhere else. They’re not a party I even think about.

      • Ahem.
        “Reform UK Voter
        December 20, 2023 at 8:27 am
        It would be great if Reform UK won East Thanet.

        Ms. Pink
        December 20, 2023 at 8:33 am
        Indeed. The country needs Nigel in the commons.”

        • Cleverly edited, M&M.

          I like Nigel, and would vote for him even he led the Green Party – but not that other waste of space who looks like a poor man’s MacKinlay.

          • Ahem (again)
            It’s a cut-and-paste from a Dec 2023 piece. Anyone can read it; it’s there for all to see
            I’ve no idea who M&M are.

          • Whilst I find it flattering (if a tad creepy) that you’ve spent all evening going back through 6 months of comments… any thoughts on the actual story? Yes I’M important – but not as much as thisfamily.

    • I recall you also claiming that I drive – another totally wrong “fact” from your rather fertile imagination.

      If you’re going to obsess over me, at least do it properly.

      • You are flattered that it is you, rather than Mr Nokes, that is shown to be rather liberal with the truth?
        And yes. The situation the family found itself in is important. What a shame that this thread (as have so many others) has been railroaded by Ms Pink.

        • Nokes was the first one to mention my name (and this “Checksfield”). Check YOUR facts, Ms. Stein!

  7. It appears most if not all Surgeries are the same, Lazy GP’s & rude staff. I have waited outside my Surgery at 7.30 in the rain trying to get an appointment, but ha, to be told no appointments, try tomorrow.

    • Chemists are now taking appointments for “minor” things, though I doubt very much that GPs have taken a wage cut!

  8. How disgraceful, since Covid people can’t get a face to face Doctors appointment without assessment by phone or by an unqualified receptionist. Not even in third world countries, this just puts pressure on A and E at Hospitals.

  9. I had the misfortune of being forced to move from Westgate Surgery (who were brilliant) to Birchington Medical Centre (BMC) last year. Since then, I have found it almost impossible to get a GP appointment for me or my children. I also do not have a GP anymore, rather, I am given whoever is available on the day, giving no continuity of service or opportunity to develop a knowledge of their patient. I’m certain the GPs don’t want to work this way.

    I also had the misfortune of speaking with one member of the reception team who, it transpires, is infamous amongst patients for being quite the rudest, most obnoxious and unhelpful individual, totally ill-equipped to be in a customer facing role.

    There are so many reasons why GP practices like BMC are failing that there isn’t sufficient time to list them all here. However, don’t forget, the practices are privately run for profit, and ‘sell’ their services to the NHS. Let that sink in.

    Thanet has struggled for decades to attract GPs to the area, and the CCG were trying to counter this at least ten years ago, presumably with little to no success.

    For those who think a change of government won’t improve things, you are probably right, albeit initially. The mess we are in thanks to the Conservatives will take at least a decade to unpick. Given Labour are the only realistic alternative, whether you like it or not, I intend to give them a chance. Should they also fail, I shall be as vociferously critical of them as I have been of the incumbent government.

    • She’s very well known locally.

      A while back, I unexpectedly ran out of tablets that I need to take every day, so (after advice online) I went to the chemist who contacted the surgery, saying that it should be ready in a hour. I went there, and was very rudely told “That’s a waste of time, as the GP won’t see it until tomorrow – fill out this form!”. So, I filled out the form, and then very politely asked if I should just sit there and wait – and was told “The GP won’t see the form until tomorrow!”. Not only very rude, but stupid too!

      As for politics, I still think Covid’s “work from home” legacy is a bigger reason why GPs refuse to see patients now (and like you, I have no designated GP).

      • I certainly agree that there is a nasty legacy from Covid, whereby the GPs have created a new set of rules which are not designed to benefit patients. But, this all comes back to the privatisation of GP services, making each practice its own stand-alone business, selling services back to the NHS. There is no control.

        Whichever government we get next, lets hope they have some backbone and regain control of health services, primary, secondary and tertiary. It is the number one priority by any reasonable measure.

  10. There aren’t enough GPs. We recently cared for someone who was at the end of their life. Hospice was incredible, GP surgery … ‘not so much’. I particularly disliked being told by GP that they might have to go to hospital for a procedure when I was pretty sure that even being moved to an ambulance could be dangerous for them. Fortunately hospice took control and patient remained with us.
    Obviously this was the kind of situation that you think about a lot once it’s over. The problem was perhaps that while hospice fully engaged with us and with the patient, the GP surgery no longer has the resources to do much other than to issue instructions and then hang up or shout ‘next!’. They do not have enough doctors. That’s been the case for a long while. They now have even fewer than ‘not enough’ i.e. looks to me like crisis time for the practice. Quality of communication and administration is often very poor indeed.
    They recently sent me a text warning me about being chucked off their books if I miss another blood test. I had in fact been 5 minutes late and offered to wait for a slot but was sent away. I’ve been punctual for hundreds of routine blood tests over the years. I forgot to attend one about 3 years ago then um … catastrophically late for this more recent one. Dunno why they risk alienating patients who are polite, understanding and put up with so much. Except that they no longer have the time or resources to even begin to see us as individuals.

    • My bugbear is that they send texts with smartphone links – I don’t have a smartphone, just an old-fashioned text and call phone (I’ve told them that, but they said it’s all automated!).

  11. Does anyone feel as I do? There’s many new housing estates springing up everywhere but no backup facilities are thought of like new GP Surgeries pharmacies,A&E, Schools etc etc to cope with this number of families, of course There’s huge problems because the people responsible for this immense amount of building work haven’t thought about the consequences?

    • On top of that, I was told today that from June there will no longer be a bus service to and/from Minnis Bay! So anyone lucky enough to get an appointment won’t be able to get a bus there.

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