The surgery in St Peter’s Hill has posted a large notice in its foyer explaining the situation to patients. The notice is headed ‘Struggling to Get an appointment?’
Catherine Dickinson, practice manager at St Peter’s Hill Surgery, told the Journal that she felt it was important to keep people informed. She said two doctors had left in the past two years who they had not been able to replace.
She said: “There are lots of reasons why we are unable to recruit doctors. One reason is that there are simply not enough doctors coming into the system. We take on locums but understandably people want to see their own doctor. We are particular about the locums we take on and they must meet the required standards.”
The notice in the surgery explains that, despite extensive advertising, suitable replacements have not been found for those doctors who have left through retirement and relocation.
The notice continues: “This will mean that you are likely to have to wait longer than you would like to see a doctor for a routine appointment. You may have to wait 2-3 weeks. perhaps longer, if you choose to see a specific GP. We will continue to have an emergency doctor available on a daily basis, but please be advised that this service is for patients with a condition or problem that needs addressing on the same day.”
The surgery says it has invested heavily in its nursing department and now has a team of specially trained minor ailment/illnesses nurses who can treat and prescribe medication for infections and other minor conditions, including hay fever, constipation, rashes and chest/throat/ear infections.
The surgery also says the situation is made worse by the fact that a number of people are failing to turn up for their appointments. Last month 324 appointments were wasted because the patients did not turn up.