GP Practices Across Forth Valley Respond to Increasing Demand
GP Practices across Forth Valley are experiencing unprecedented demand and have seen a sharp rise in the number of calls and requests for appointments, compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Clackmannanshire and Stirling Health and Social Care Partnership Clinical lead and local Clackmannanshire GP, Dr James King, said: “GP Practices across the area are continuing to deal with exceptionally high levels of demand, often with reduced staffing levels, and are working hard to prioritise appointments for patients who need to be seen urgently.”
Clackmannanshire and Stirling Health and Social Care Clinical lead and local Stirling GP, Dr Kathleen Brennan, added: “Some people may have to wait longer than usual for a routine or non-urgent appointment. The support and co-operation of our patients in providing GP reception teams with information about their problem is vital to help us identify those most in need. Phone calls to Practices have risen sharply and patients may face longer waits to get through. We know this can be frustrating, but our GP teams are working hard to respond to as many calls as possible. Some Practices also offer other means of contact such as email or via websites which might be a useful way for some patients to get in touch.”
Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership Clinical lead and local GP, Dr David Herron, said: “Many health conditions can also be seen and treated by other healthcare professionals. Community Pharmacies on local high streets can see and treat a wide range of ailments. There is also a wide range of health information and advice, including symptom checkers available online at NHS Inform. If you feel your problem can be treated by another professional then patients can make direct contact and be assured processes are in place to refer to your GP, if necessary.
“Despite the ongoing pressures, GPs and their teams remain committed to supporting local communities and really appreciate the support and understanding of local patients and their families at this very challenging time.”
There are many different highly trained healthcare professionals working within GP practices across Forth Valley, including advanced nurse practitioners, advanced physiotherapy practitioners and mental health nurses. GP Administrative staff have all been trained to ask questions to enable them to direct you to the most appropriate member of the team. Answering these questions will help you to access the treatment you need as quickly as possible.
To get the right care in the right place as quickly as possible
- Visit the NHS inform website – www.nhsinform.scot or the NHS Inform helpline free on 0800 22 44 88 for advice on common symptoms, guidance for self-help and where to go if further medical care is needed. Information and advice for parents on strep A www.nhsinform.scot/strepA
- Speak to your local pharmacist who can offer healthcare advice for many common illnesses and, in some cases, provide free treatment without the need for a GP prescription as part of the Pharmacy First service
- For minor injuries, including cuts that might need stitches, suspected broken bones and minor burns or scalds, call NHS 24 on 111 and they can arrange an appointment for you to be seen at the Minor Injuries Unit at Stirling Health and Care Village or the Urgent Care Centre at Forth Valley Royal Hospital. By phoning first you can avoid the need to wait to be seen when you attend
- If your GP Practice and pharmacy is closed and you need urgent health advice or treatment for an illness or minor injury you should call NHS 24 on 111, day or night. They can offer advice or arrange for you to speak to a local healthcare professional who can offer advice or arrange an appointment so you don’t need to wait when you attend.
- Emergency Departments are for the most serious injuries and critical medical emergencies such as strokes, heart attacks or serious head injuries. If you think something is life- threatening, call 999.
- An extensive range of health information and advice can be found at www.nhsinform.scot
- You can check symptoms and get advice at nhsinform.scot/symptoms-and-self-help
- Mental wellbeing and support can be found at www.nhsinform.scot/mental-wellbeing
- If you’re well but have a question about your health or local NHS services ring the NHS Inform helpline free on 0800 22 44 88 (Mon – Fri from 8.00am to 6.00pm)
A pharmacist can give you advice and treatment (if you need it) for various minor illnesses and common clinical conditions including:
- Sore throat, blocked or runny nose, coughs
- Skin conditions such as eczema, cellulitis, acne, impetigo and insect bites
- Allergies, hay fever and shingles
- Athlete’s foot, warts and verrucas
- Backache, earache, headache and indigestion
- Cold sores and mouth ulcers
- Cystitis, thrush, urine Infections and period pains
- Diarrhoea, constipation, haemorrhoids (piles) and threadworms
NHS 24 – 111
- NHS 24 provides urgent care advice over the phone day and night
- The 111 service is suitable for anyone who may need to visit ED but does not have a life- threatening condition, as well as those looking for advice when GPs, dentists, pharmacies and opticians are closed.