As positive COVID-19 cases within our communities are higher than at any other time in the pandemic, NHS Ayrshire & Arran (NHSAA) has had to review how some planned and out-patient services are provided. This significant pressure is also being experienced across Primary Care services, particularly with GP Practices trying to manage the ever increasing demand.
GP Practices are experiencing a significant increase in people contacting them on a daily basis, with a large proportion of patients requiring face to face appointments. In some instances this has gone from 150 calls a day before the pandemic to now sometimes in excess of 500 a day.
The knock on effect of the pandemic, and reduction in other services, also means people are turning to their local GP practices in greater numbers to manage their condition. Practice staff are prioritising those in most clinical need for urgent on the day presentations.
Practices are also experiencing staff shortages due to infection or being identified as a close contact. Practice staff are doing their very best to answer all these calls but on occasions this isn’t possible.
Practices are making greater use of electronic ways of contacting them as well as video and telephone appointments. This flexible mix of telephone, video and in-person consulting is essential to deal with the numerous requests being received with the workforce available. If during the video or telephone consultation the clinician feels an in-person examination is needed then this will be offered.
During high periods of demand, patients phoning their GP practice may now have their call re-directed to a central call handling service at the Ayrshire Urgent Care Service for advice and support. This will allow GP practices to focus on caring for those patients most in need.
If you require the assistance of your own GP Practice this will be arranged.