"Lerwick Health Centre - Appointments System"

About: Lerwick Health Centre

(as a friend),

Have NHS Shetland reviewed the current appointments system and walk-in clinics? I find it almost impossible to get an appointment with a Dr on the day I actually phone and, realistically, that is when people wish to see a Dr - they don't want to wait approximately 2 weeks and I think it is unfair to ask people to attend a walk in clinic where they may have to wait for 2 hours or so. I really feel it for vulnerable people and, for those suffering with depression or other mental ill-health, they may not feel able to sit in a waiting room full of people.

A friend of mine recently attended one walk in clinic, turned up at 7. 45 a. m. and, by 8. 30 a. m. when the Health Centre doors were opened, there were 37 people queuing. I appreciate that there may be a number of patients who do not attend for scheduled appointments and this a waste of an appointment but has consideration been given to the fact that these might be appointments that have been pre-booked out of the patient's frustration at not being able to get an appointment on the day they really need to see a Dr?

I really think the system needs reviewed.

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Response from NHS Shetland

I am sorry that the service in this instance did not meet your expectations. We are continually striving to improve the experience for Lerwick Health Centre patients, and we know that the way appointments were allocated in the past did not suit everybody. The walk in clinics were introduced following patient feedback that they would like to have the facility to “sit and wait” to be seen on the day, rather than having to telephone. The walk in clinics start at 9am but as you have said, some people choose to arrive early, which then lengthens their wait. We are constantly reviewing the appointment system to see how we can best meet everyone’s needs and reduce the time people have to wait. If someone needs to see a clinician, they will always have the opportunity to see someone that day, either through emergency clinics (three days a week) or the walk in clinics (two days a week).

Lisa Sutherland, Service Manager for Primary Care

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