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Doctors' surgeries under the spotlight

As the Accident and Emergency crisis continues to blight hospitals across the Thames Valley, our doctors' surgeries are now also under the spotlight.

The Care Quality Commission has published a report on the quality of care provided by GP practices. The review looked at whether they're safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led. Out of the 15 surgeries inspected by the CQC, 11 were found to be good. But four were rated as needing improvement.

Juliette Fletcher has been finding out what makes the good surgeries good and what's going wrong at the others.

Doctor fraudulently obtained £29,285 in benefits

A doctor from Reading has been found guilty of benefit fraud.

Samer Sa'adeh pleaded guilty at Reading Crown court to five charges of dishonestly making false statements to fraudulently obtain benefits.

Investigators discovered Dr Sa'adeh had lied on 5 separate occasions about his wife's circumstances.

He failed to mention that she was being paid over £13,000 a year by Reading University for living costs.

He was also over paid a total of £29,285 from when he first claimed in March 2010 until December 2012.

He was given a 20 week custodial sentence, which the magistrates then suspended for 2 years, as well as 180 hours of unpaid work and £1000 in costs.

The money Dr Sa'sdeh was wrongly paid is required to be paid back in full in is currently being recovered from him.


Heavy demand for GP services

There's been a surge in the number of people phoning out of hours GP services over the festive period.

But GPs say many patients did not need to be seen urgently and had wrongly believed their surgery was closed until after Christmas.

All GP practices in Kent and Medway are open as usual on Friday 28 and Monday 31 December. There is also pharmacy cover every day, throughout the festive season.

GP services are also available when practices are closed, for patients whose medical condition cannot wait.