A concerned daughter has contacted Richard Branson after waiting on hold for 52 minutes to get an appointment for her terminally ill mother.

Linda Kirby, from Halstead, has called for improvements at the Virgin Care run Church Lane Surgery in Braintree, which has been struggling for months.

And she has taken her complaint to the top by trying to reach Mr Branson via social media.

Ms Kirby, whose mum is a Braintree patient, said her mum is often left waiting ten to 14 days for a repeat prescription.

She said: “My mother has to knock her medication down because she knows she won’t get a prescription.

“It is not the fault of staff there, they are leaving in their droves.

“No-one answered after 52 minutes of me hanging on listening to a voice telling me how important my call is.

“I went down there and the receptionists are in a terrible state because they are having to phone people and cancel appointments.

“They can’t get staff to stay because of the stress levels.”

Ms Kirby complained to Virgin Care, MP James Cleverly and the Care Quality Commission.

She added: “Enough is enough, the people of Braintree need to join together and fight back.”

A Virgin Care spokesperson said: “We have made many improvements to the management of Church Lane Surgery and our patients are already feeling the difference.

"For example a new permanent GP, Dr Bata, recently joined the practice along with a full time practice manager, Nick Wrapson, and we are continuing to recruit more GPs and nurses.

“We have also improved the phone system by introducing a ‘telephone hub’ with colleagues dedicated to answering the phone, increased the availability of appointments and improved the repeat prescription process.

"We would encourage patients with concerns to raise them with us directly at the surgery or speak to our Customer Experience Team on 0300 303 9509.”