"Continuity of care from health centre"

About: NHS Shetland

(as the patient),

I have quite a complicated medical history and when I called along to the drop in clinic I was asked if I could be seen by the Practice Nurse on this ocassion I said yes and was told I would be given an appointment with the Nurse.

As it happened the Practice Nurse realised that I would benefit from being seen by one of the GP's and changed my appointment so I was seen by this GP. This helped as I had the continuity of care which is essential for my complex medical history. I think the Practice Nurse was correct in what she did for me.

For other visits to the GP it would be really good to be seen regularly by the same GP as they can build up a better record on my symptoms and treat me quicker and in a better way than would happen if I was seen by a series of different doctors.

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Response from Carolyn Hand, Corporate Services Manager/Complaints Officer, Chief Executive's Department, NHS Shetland

Thank you for your comments and I am pleased that you were correctly signposted to the appropriate clinician for your care.

Continuity of care is important to us and we have recently amended the appointment system at our busiest health centre in Lerwick to offer patients appointments which can be booked in advance with a preferred GP. Patients can choose this option for non-urgent/routine appointments. However, we have four GPs in the Lerwick practice who have other clinical commitments and three who are part time and this has an impact on the availability of certain GPs. If there is a great demand for these appointments there may be a wait. If a patient cannot wait they will be able to book for another GP.

Patients who come to a walk in clinic at Lerwick Health Centre can also request a specific GP and reception staff will try to meet this, however if may not be possible depending on which GPs are on that day.

Emergency clinics at the Lerwick Practice are different in that they are for patients who feel they need to be seen immediately and they will be seen by the first available GP and there will be no choice of GP.

In summary, we try to do our best to promote continuity of care whilst providing care within the capacity we have available, and patients can help us by booking in advance, letting us know if they want to cancel their appointment and informing us of any problems they encounter. A leaflet outlining the Lerwick Health Centre appointments system is available at the health centre and also on NHS Shetland website. If you wish to discuss this further then please do not hesitate to contact me on 01595 743209.

Lisa Sutherland, Primary Care Services Manager

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