Advice issued to help demand on GP service

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Staff from Brechin Health Centre are appealing to their patients to help them tackle the appointment problem at the surgery.

With the centre struggling to find applicants for available positions, staff are calling on patients to help address the difficulty in seeing a GP promptly.

A spokesperson for the centre explained: “We can assure you that all the GPs and nurses in Brechin are working very long, busy days to try and address this problem, but we can only spread ourselves so thinly, and we are acutely aware of the fact that we are still falling short of your expectations.”

The centre has outlined a variety of options available to patients to help reduce demand on appointments.

They have provided some suggestions to try and help patients contact the right person and service to best suit their needs.

For a minor ailment (for example cold, hay fever, rash etc), or a medication - contact your local pharmacist first who may be able to help. Many medicines can also be bought over the counter without a prescription and your local pharmacy can advise you on this.

For a sprain, cut or minor injury you can attend the Minor Injury Unit next to the Health Centre. The nurse practitioner on duty will seek advice from a doctor if they feel they cannot deal with the problem themselves.

NHS Inform is available for phone advice all day and will advise you if you should be contacting your GP instead. The telephone number is 0800 22 44 88 and is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

If you are pregnant and have a minor concern or ailment your first port of call should be your midwife.

For travel vaccines you need to contact or attend a MASTA clinic. Contact details can be found online or at the surgery reception.

For problems requiring input from care managers, home helps, meal on wheels home equipment etc, please contact the social work department on 01356 666 999.

Doctors are not allowed nor trained to treat dental problems. Contact your dentist to help with problems of this nature.

The NHS does not provide sickness certification for the first six working days of absence. You will need to download a self certificate from the department of work and pensions if you are off work for less than a week.

Remember to attend a booked appointment at the centre or cancel it should it no longer be required, so that someone else may use it. Around 40 appointments a week are missed. This puts even more strain on an already overburdened system.

Lastly, the vast majority of illnesses do not require any input from a doctor at all and will get better on their own, given just a little bit of time. This is true of young and usually fit people where, for example, a muscle strain, viral illness or cough is a nuisance but does eventually settle on it’s own or with the aid of medicines that can be bought in chemists and supermarkets.

The spokesperson added: “Many thanks in advance for your help in trying to ease the current pressure and please feel free to offer any suggestions, as to how we can improve the current situation until we can find another GP to join our team.”