Edinburgh GPs: Springwell Medical Centre in Gorgie admits struggling to provide GP appointments

Unexpected leave leads to warning from Edinburgh medical practice manager

An Edinburgh medical practice has been “transparent” with its patients, revealing this week it is struggling to cope with demand for GP appointments due to unexpected leave and maintenance issues.

Springwell Medical Centre at Ardmillan Terrace in Gorgie posted warnings on Facebook to patients and sent a bulk text to all patients who are registered for its text service on Tuesday and Wednesday (January 10-11) , as it struggled due to staff shortages and a broken boiler system.

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Practice manager Ali Parrott posted: “We are extremely short of GP appointments due to unexpected leave. We have tried to secure locum coverage with no success. Please only contact the practice if your need cannot wait and is urgent for today. We apologise for any inconvenience and are trying to secure cover.”

Springwell Medical Centre, 39 Ardmillan Terrace, Edinburgh.

And this morning she posted: “We have more GP appointment availability but are still a little short tomorrow and Friday due to unplanned leave.”

Speaking to the Evening News, Dr Parrott was adamant that her practice is not alone in having these staff and maintenance issues, and she is just being open and honest with her patients.

She said: “My biggest thing about running a GP practice is to be transparent with patients. We have the Facebook page for that. Just to tell patients that if they really don’t have to see us please don’t phone us. If you can get the help you need at say the pharmacist then please do.

"We have been short the past few days but we only have two vacancies, and 10 GPs. So as a practices we are actually doing ok generally. We have one vacancy for maternity cover and one permanent GP position. We also have locum cover, but that's been harder to get since the pandemic, which had a big impact on locum cover.

"We are in a better position than most GP practices I think, it’s not ideal, but we are not worried. My understanding is that there are vacancies everywhere. There are practices I have heard of that are a lot worse off than we are. We are just more transparent about it.”

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Dr Parrott was speaking on Wednesday as the medical centre’s boiler was being repaired. She said: "The boiler packed in before Christmas and the very old system is being repaired today. Running water is getting turned on just now, but we have no hot water as yet. We had to get fan heaters in as the heating wasn’t working. And on Monday afternoon the water was turned off.

"Apart from the maintenance side of things, appointment wise we are almost back up to what we normally have. As always we urge patients to use the right care, right place. The heating and hot water will hopefully be back on by the end of the week/ Monday. We appreciate patients’ patience and understanding.”