Scottish practice could turn away patients booking appointments in person

As reported by The Herald, patients trying to book GP appointments in person could be turned away

Links Medical Centre in Edinburgh has informed patients that those attempting to make appointments in person may be turned away.

Its 6,000 patients have been informed that the practice will me moving to a telephone assessment system for three days per week.

The Centre said: “Patients requiring to be seen by a GP should no longer come to the surgery on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday morning, but should telephone the surgery on the usual number at 8am and they will be appointed to the triage list.

“Unfortunately, we do not have the facilities for the number of patients who would usually come to the urgent problem clinic to wait in the surgery for a call back. This is due to overcrowding and confidentiality issues.

“We would ask that you only attend if you feel your problem is urgent. Patients requiring to be seen routinely may be advised to return home and await a call from the triaging team.”

The lack of GPs in Scotland is creating concern amidst the healthcare sector. Some have predicted a shortfall of approximately 800 by 2021.

Miles Briggs, health spokesman for the Scottish Conservative Party, said: “Every week it seems the SNP’s GP crisis hits a new low.

“A situation where patients are being sent packing is dangerous and could put lives at risk.”

The Links surgery has been taken over by NHS Lothian, which works with Edinburgh Integration Joint Board (EIJB).

An EIJB spokesman said: “The Links Medical Centre has opted to introduce the triage system to allow its GPs to deal with patients more efficiently and effectively.

“Anyone who presents at the practice with an urgent medical issue will be seen by a GP.”

A Scottish government spokesperson added: “Patients seeing the most appropriate healthcare professional first is in line with the new GP contract agreed with the BMA.”

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