GP shortages impacting out-of-hours service

The GP shortage is so severe in Tayside that a contingency plan has now been put in place to tackle it, according to The Courier

While GP practices across the UK are now offering extended hours, the recruitment crisis now means that covering appointments is more difficult than ever.

NHS Tayside has been forced to put a contingency plan in place, as lack of GP availability has become too much of an issue to handle, impacting patients being offered appointments.

A spokesperson for Angus Health and Social Care Partnership, which manages the service for Tayside, said pre-planning has allowed normal levels of demand to be dealt with.

“The activity for Tayside out of hours (OOH) Service last weekend was consistent with normal levels with 594 patients seen, 173 home visits carried out and 104 professional advice calls taken,” said the spokesperson.

“Due to a reduced number of GPs available at certain points over the weekend, contingency arrangements were put in place to allow us to successfully maintain the service.

“The OOH team worked closely in partnership with other services including Scottish Ambulance Service, NHS24, pharmacy and hospital services at these times.

“For example, we had previously alerted the Scottish Ambulance Service that there may be a delay in responding to clinical advice calls during certain periods and offered alternative points of contact such as NHS24, and NHS Tayside’s emergency departments and acute medical unit.

“Whilst this is not a common occurrence for Tayside, out of hours services across the country remain challenged by a national shortage of GPs and therefore robust contingency arrangements are in place to ensure we keep services running.”

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