We appreciate that there is now a wait in excess of 2 weeks for a routine GP appointment. Many patients have expressed their dissatisfaction with this. The partners would like it to be known that they too find this unacceptable and continue to work hard to reduce the waiting times.
We are 2 GPs short due to Partners leaving and retiring. We have advertised for replacement GPs but have received no responses. This is due to a Scotland (and indeed UK) –wide crisis in GP recruitment and retention which has been a challenge for a number of years now.
In the absence of replacement GPs, we have taken on two Advanced Nurse Practitioners who are experienced nurses, fully trained to assess, diagnose and treat a variety of acute illnesses. We have also employed Practice Pharmacists who can deal with medication queries. This has freed up some GP appointments but with rising demand and an increasing list size waiting times remain unacceptable.
We will continue to innovate and find ways of helping those patients who need to see a GP. To this end the administrative staff may ask about your symptoms. Some medical conditions can be managed by, for example, the Community Pharmacist, Practice Pharmacist or Advanced Nurse Practitioner. Patients with these conditions will be seen faster by consulting these alternative professionals. This frees up GP appointments for patients with conditions that can only be managed by a GP. Administrative staff are bound by the same rules of confidentially as medical staff so please understand that they are not being nosey when they ask about your symptoms.
For problems that don’t require a physical examination we have telephone appointments with the GP available. Prescription requests, fit-note requests and messages can be left for the GP without the need for a face to face appointment which will again reduce the demand for GP appointments and therefore the waiting times.
July is a particularly difficult month for the practice due to the summer holidays. For this reason we have been forced to take the temporary step of suspending advanced booking of appointments in July. We will of course continue to see emergency patients and those with urgent problems. We appreciate that this situation is less than satisfactory but unfortunately it is currently a nationwide issue. We are trying to provide the best service we can given the stretched resources and ask for your understanding & help over the coming weeks.
We appreciate your assistance in our ongoing efforts to provide a better service.
Dr. McLay, Dr. Tweddell, Dr. Russell, Dr. Francks & Dr. Fisher