Statement by Dr Lenten to all his Patients:

Closure of The Queens Road Medical Centre

 Firstly I would like to thank all of you for the support you have shown.

I cannot pretend that I have been anything other than overwhelmed by the strength of feeling and the passion shown in support of the practice and the almost universal show of solidarity in which you, the patients, set up a campaign to try and save the services we have offered to the community.

It has been an emotional journey that I shall never forget.

However, with great consideration I believe it is time for us all to move on.

I firmly believe that the CCG acknowledge that the situation could have been handled differently. I have no doubt they will review their processes, and also reflect on and consider areas of further learning to aid both patients and practices that find themselves in a similar situation in the future.

I have always tried to do my best. I have never considered any of you ‘as patients’ but tried always to respect you all as individual people who have come to see me for help and support. I consider that in your turn you have considered me as a person and not a machine and I have appreciated that. 

Many of you are aware of my interests outside work  that include writing poetry, keeping physically fit, swimming, coasteering and water skiing but my top interests are my 4 children and my wife, Sam.  I, like you, have to now consider what is best for us as a family.

I have received so many phenomenally kind comments from so many of you - The reality is that I am simply a family man, who has been lucky enough to love his job and find his vocation in life.

For those of you who do not know, I am local. I was born at the Leicester General Hospital. I went to local schools, starting at the age of 4 at Evington Valley School, moving onto Mayflower School, then to Judgemeadow and finally onto the Queen Elizabeth 1 college on Victoria Park Road for my ‘A’ levels.  I then moved next door to Leicester University for my medical degree and  I did my GP training on the Leicester GP vocational training scheme working at the local hospitals and at the then ‘Uppingham Road Health Centre’ as a GP trainee. I started as a GP principal in 1992 and I have worked in the practice ever since. The Queens Road Medical Centre is just a mile away from where I was brought up on Westminster Road.  I think you can safely say I am committed to Leicester and the people of Leicester and I hope to continue working in Leicestershire for the foreseeable future.

I have so many memories over the last 24 years.

The humorous events, such as when one of my patients attended with the symptoms of a water infection, giving me a urine sample and when I was just about to test it she literally grabbed it out of my hand in an absolute fluster with an expression of horror on her face, saying ‘no doctor, you mustn’t test that it is the wrong sample’, intrigued I turned both surprised and confused, as she took the sample off me and supplied another identical bottle explaining ‘this is my sample doctor, that sample bottles is one I’d given to the priest to put some holy water in, and he’d blessed it for me’. We both laughed and she left with a smile on her face. After that, whenever she came in, I’d asked her if she had any more holy water for me to test. Another of my long standing patients regularly asks me for his ‘Mexican Tablets’ (meloxicam tablets). I know he now does it on purpose but we both smile at his spoonerism. I have hundreds of moments that keep reminding me how rewarding my job can be.

I recall the harrowing moments, such as when a man, one of patients, collapsed in the allotments behind the medical centre, and dealing with the emergency on a cold winter day  in the mud.

I have had surprising moments, such as in my days at St Peters Health Centre (before I moved to Queens Road) when 1 of the doctors was threatened with a knife by a patient and our elderly receptionist came round from behind the counter with her umbrella and fought the assailant off, ushering him out of the door.

I must turn to the memories that hurt the most,  around those no longer with us, such as the occasion when one of my young patients died suddenly and unexpectedly. I can state without shame or embarrassment I cried that day and night, and many times after, thinking about her and even now a number of years on, I think about that individual and her family’s loss and consider it remarkable how they have managed to continue without her.

I am not a political individual and never have been, but feel the close ties between a family and their GP is rapidly coming to an end. The politicians do not seem to understand that General Practice is not just about making a diagnosis and giving someone the ‘correct’ treatment in the shortest time possible. Although this is important, it is also about trust, compassion, reassurance, inter-relationships, life and support - most of which is not measurable and can only successfully be achieved once you’ve developed an on-going relationship in which a person has faith and trust in their doctor and the doctor has faith, trust and an understanding of the history (physical, social and psychological) of their patient.

I hope most of you leave my consultation room with a smile on your face and feeling your problem has been addressed.

I am unsure if many of you are aware that all GPs have to have an appraisal every year and have to be approved for revalidation by the Responsible Officer every 5 years. I have been a GP appraiser, and have appraised many GPs within the area.  I continue to have the greatest respect for my colleagues locally. As an area Leicester is nationally under-funded compared to other areas of the country and we have been for many years. Although I am not allowed to recommend any local practices, I would like to reassure my patients that there are many extremely high quality, dedicated doctors within the area, who I would happily have caring for me and my family.

I have always made it clear that we would like to have continued. However, it is equally clear that this is not going to be possible, despite the strength of feeling from our patient community.

The decision has been made by the CCG to disperse the list. Whilst we know that many will find it hard to accept that we cannot continue, we feel it is in the best interests of our patients, our staff, the wider community, our local GP colleagues, as well as for myself and Sam to draw a line under this and try and ensure as smooth a transition as possible.

I would therefore urge you to look at your options and join the practice of your choice that covers your individual address.

We would like to ask everyone to now concentrate their efforts on registering with a suitable GP.

We will definitely be closing on 31st March 2016.

I moved the practice to Queens Road in 1996 and it has been my life’s work. I shall miss you all and wish you all long, healthy and importantly, happy lives.

With Best Wishes to you all 

Dr Jonathan Lenten

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