"GP Practice closed"

About: NHS 24 NHS Highland (Health)

(as the patient),

I was shocked today when I contacted my GP Practice for advice on Medication only to be told by an answering service that they were closed for GP Training and would not open until Friday.

They refer you to NHS 24 but they have been so unhelpful today its been unreal. I ended up having to travel to minor injuries/assessment at my local hospital just to ask about these tablets.

why cant they do there training at weekends or at lunchtime rather than closing for a full day?

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Response from Maimie Thompson, Head of Public Relations and Engagement, Chief Executive's Office, NHS Highland

picture of Maimie Thompson

Dear Waterloo

I am sorry to hear about your frustrations and the inconvenience you experienced yesterday. Please accept our apologies. If you let me know which Practice you are referring to I will find out some more.

What I do know is that across the country, GP Practices do close every couple of months - for what they call Protected Learning Sessions. As far as I am aware these are usually for an afternoon. Dates are usally agreed well in advance and advertised locally. Each Practice is required to put alternative arrangements in place. My sense is this is usally agreeable for most people in most cases but clearly in your case this sounds like you did not know it was closed which must have been a real pain - and I am so sorry about that.

It is important that the staff get time to train so that they can keep up to date which in turn helps them to look after their patients. In common with most businesses the way this gets done is to shut for part of a day. What I am wondering though is whether there might have been some other better ways for you to have been supported about your tablets such as through a local pharmacy. I dont know but if you give me a call or drop me a line then I would be happy to speak to colleagues locally and find out more. You can email me to maimie.thompson@nhs.net or phone 01463 70 4722

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Update posted by waterloo (the patient)

Thank you for your reply the Practice in question was Helensburgh Medical Centre but what bothered was that both practices within the medical centre were both closed which meant you couldnt also phone for results etc but having to wait the next morning or afternoon to telephone which I felt many people would have felt worried in this case

Response from Shona Lawrence, Patient Affairs Manager, NHS 24

picture of Shona Lawrence

Dear Waterloo

Thank you very much for your feedback and I do appreciate that this would have been a very frustrating time for you. NHS 24 does regularly provide cover for GP Practices when they are undertaking training,. During these times, patients are re-directed to NHS 24 to ensure that there is continuity in the provision of patient care.

I was very sorry to read that you feel NHS 24 were unhelpful when you made contact with us and I would very much like to find out more about your experience of our service. NHS 24 welcomes feedback such as yours as this allows us to review our service to patients and to make improvements where we can.

If you would like me to arrange for your particular call to our service to be reviewed, then I would be happy to do this. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly on 0141 337 4582 or emai patientaffairs@nhs24.scot.nhs.uk

With regards

Shona Lawrence

NHS 24 Patient Affairs Manager

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Update posted by waterloo (the patient)

Thank you Shona for your reply.

I think I will just leave it at this at present but I do not think in future I will call NHS 24 as this has put me off contacting them in the future given I am currently in poor health.

Thank you once again for your response.

Updates, changes and questions related to this story